In this guide you’ll find resources to help you prepare for the National Finals and ensure you are ready to compete to the best of your ability.

In order to compete to your full potential, you will need really good technical skills in your discipline. Another factor is the mental skills you will need to make sure you are able to undertake the required practice and training prior to competing. This is important as you’ll be competing in a pressured, time-limited environment.

Often the difference between success and failure depends on your ability to cope with the special demands of competition. The best performers, in any activity, have the ability to remain calm and perform well under pressure, they are unflappable, make good decisions, think clearly and perform with confidence and enthusiasm.

It is important to develop and practice a range of skills that will help you perform to your potential. We have developed a series of free masterclasses to help you get ‘competition-ready’ called the mindset masterclasses. Each masterclass will take you through important components, so you can feel more confident on the day of your competition.

Just sign up to our Learning Lab for free, to access the full range of our mindset masterclasses covering:

Prepare for success

Part of preparing for the National Finals means brushing up on your technical skillset and we recommend a few ways to do this:

  • visit our website, find the competition you are taking part in and look for technical handbook under the ‘tools and resources’ section. There you’ll find the core competencies for your competition along with the judge’s top tips
  • practice, practice, practice; your competition organising partners should provide you with training and development opportunities so you can hone your skills and be ready to compete
  • if your National Final Competition leads on to an international competition, have a look at the WorldSkills Occupational Standards take a look at the standards expected of competitors who are competing internationally. This may give you an edge over others in the competition.

Eating for Competing

You may be the most talented and skilled competitor, but you’ll only win competitions if you leave no stone unturned when you are preparing to compete and your diet is no exception.

What you get out of your body is directly related to what you put into it. Eat poorly and your performance will suffer. Eating gives your mind and body the fuel needed to help you perform at your best.

Your diet and how much water you drink has a major influence on your energy levels and your ability to concentrate!  Both are extremely important in terms of your ability to perform at the top of your game.

Check out UK Government advice for a healthy, balanced diet in, the Eatwell Guide. This reflects the latest dietary recommendations and key public health messages. It applies to most people over five years of age and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians too. Advice includes:

  • eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, choosing wholegrain versions where possible
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as fortified soya drinks), choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
  • eat beans, pulses, eggs, meat and other proteins plus two portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily.
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
  • drink six to eight cups or glasses of fluid a day
  • if consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar have these less often and in small amounts

Hydration and why it's important

75% of your bodyweight is water.

Even low levels of dehydration can affect your performance. A loss of 2% bodyweight from sweating is believed to reduce performance by 10-20%, while a 3-5% loss will impair reaction time, judgment, concentration and decision-making!

You’re unlikely to be this dehydrated during a skills competition, but any level of dehydration means you will not be competing at your best.

Aim for 6-8 daily glasses of fluids, which can include water, low-fat milk, and caffeine-containing drinks like tea and coffee. Despite the mild diuretic effect of caffeine, it’s offset by the hydrating components in these beverages. You can also count fruit juices and smoothies, but limit them to a combined total of 150ml a day. Opt for diet, sugar-free, or no added sugar soft drinks to reduce sugar intake.

Recovery nutrition

 After a competition day you should ensure you:

  • replace fluid loss (drink water)

  • eat a healthy meal in the evening with sufficient nutrients

Stay in touch with your Competition Organising Partner

Their contact details can be found at on our website, under your skill competition page. They will have information on further skill-specific training they offer as well as be on-hand to answer any questions about the competition and will be there to guide you.

We hope the information in this guide helps you with your preparation for your competition and we wish you the very best of luck at the National Finals!

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