Trey Cunningham: Four Rules For Performing Your Best

"Knowing who you are and being comfortable with that will boost performance, not only on the track but in life."

By Trey Cunningham - Winfield City (AL) High School, Class of 2017

Florida State University '22

    Get out of your own way.

    It is easier said than done, but is one of the biggest influences for performing your best. After years on the track, I have seen teammates and other athletes not perform to their potential because the mental side held them back.

    The big question I often ask myself, then, is 'How to get out of your own way?'

    It is a hard one to answer, because it is different for each person and requires us to ask different questions of ourselves to figure out what works.

    Here are a few things I have found to work in the past.


    Treat Competition Like Practice


    Competition is a stressor that either boosts people up or pulls them down. The latter is more common than the first.

    Reframing the view point of competition as a practice can help with performance issues. Practice is really the same as competition. It is the same hurdles, starting position, distance (sometimes less) and lanes.

    Use it to your advantage.


    Competition = Performance


    Track and field is an individual sport, until the relays are thrown in.

    But even in the relays, individuals have to perform to the best of their ability to get the stick around.

    I have found that focusing on the execution and performance takes a lot of the pressure off. If I focus on the best performance I can do, then I can walk away feeling like it is something special, or a race I can be happy with.


    More Practice Makes it Harder to Fail


    The more time, effort and emotion you put into anything, the more it will make the task harder to fail.

    This is because those three factors make it meaningful; so it's worthwhile to do your best.

    Grit would be a word used for this. The more grit someone has, the more likely they would be to perform better. Higher levels of grit build confidence and confidence is needed to be at the top of your game.


    Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin


    Knowing who you are and being comfortable with that will boost performance, not only on the track but in life.

    When you figure out who you are and come to terms with it and accept it, you can truly fly.

    Uninhibited by self-doubt, worry or other opinions allows focus to be put on the task at hand.

    Remember that. 


    Want some advice? Ask Trey Cunningham a question using #AskTrey, or DM Trey on Instagram @trey826 or on Twitter @TreyCunningham. One of these questions will be picked to be answered in the next column.

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