Mental Fishing – Prep for the Big Event – Part One Develop a Plan for Success

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MentalBlogBass fishing and NASCAR share something in common. Both start their season with the Big Event. Granted, the Classic is really the culmination of the previous season’s work, in all reality it kicks off the new season of competition.

This presents the anglers with an interesting challenge. Months removed from the heated competition of the regular season and the post-season events, they are required to gear it up again and be on the top of their game for the biggest prize in the sport. The truth is that only a few find that “zone” fresh out of the box in the new year.

Keys for maximizing your performance in Big Events are no different than the top anglers in the world. With my clients I emphasize several simple keys to success. The first one is establishing a proper definition of “success.” Success is not necessarily winning the event. Most elite athletes will tell you “success is giving myself a chance to succeed.” In other words, they are not getting in their own way or not trying too hard or not being afraid to fail. In positive terms, they focus on the process and realize their skills are sufficient to win and fishing to win is a state of mind.

Bassmaster_Classic_TrophyBig Events, by definition, are special to sport and special to the competitors. That is not to be denied or ignored. Big Events get the juices flowing; get the imagination running wild, and the visions of the potential rewards disrupting your sleep. Those are just distractions! The best in sport know that. They want the pay-off at the end. They relish lifting the trophy overhead. But in the end they know that their only hope of doing so lies in their ability to simply go out and work the process before them.

Pros have a big advantage over the average competitive angler. That advantage is experience. I could probably accomplish heart surgery with an expert talking me through every step. No doubt it would take hours longer than necessary and my mental and emotional reserves would be expended in the process. Experienced surgeons can almost do the procedure in their sleep. It is no big deal. As fans of bass fishing, we put ourselves in the shoes of our favorite pro and imagine what the experience is like. The truth is this: We have no clue what it is like to be in their shoes!

Most of us work for a living and have “big meetings” to go to or “big presentations” to make. After awhile they are no big deal and become part of life. That is what the Classic is like for the pros. Just like you making the big presentation, they focus on the process, get good information, and execute a plan based on that information. You don’t know if your customer will love it or hate, but you do know how to do your best and let the chips fall where they may.

Try the same approach to your next Big Fishing Event and see if things work out better for you. Prepare for success by gathering good information ahead of time. Sort through that information and develop a plan for each day (at least a starting point plan and next couple of steps). Think through the best and worst scenarios and how you will respond to them. Plan for the unexpected. Write all of this down if that will help you on the water.

Then, define success as going out and executing your plan. Success is achievable each and every time you compete if you define it this way. Some days the fish won’t add up to victory but you will have been victorious the most important way.

Coming soon… Steps Two and Three to success.