Keeping it simple is the key for Australian Kim Mickle, who is in great shape to win a javelin medal for Australia on the final day of the world athletics championships.
After missing out on a spot in the top eight at the Olympics last year, Mickle left London convinced she was “the most unlucky person ever”.
A chat with sports psychologist Brian Miller soon set her straight.
Miller was stunned to learn that Mickle spent most of the competition watching the other throwers do their thing.
“Little did I know that as I was watching them, I was critiquing them and then popping that into my throw and way overloading my own brain with 101 different technique points,” said the 28-year-old Mickle.
“I didn’t realise I was doing that until Brian said ‘why are you doing that? That’s crazy’.
“And I was like ‘yeah, I was clapping them in and all sorts of things’.
“Now this year I’ve adopted a new approach where I don’t watch one throw.
“I have my back to every single thrower and it’s just worked a treat.”
The next step in the remaking of Mickle was to focus on only two technical points before every throw.
“Hit it flat and keep your hand back – they’re the two points I’m thinking of,” said Mickle.
“Now I can’t go back.
“If I watch someone else throw I realise how much I think about it.
“It’s a big realisation.
“Just chuck some blindfolds on me or something.”
The new approach worked a treat in the qualifying round in Moscow, with Mickle moving up two spots to second on the Australian all-time list with a huge personal best of 65.73m.
Only defending champion Maria Abakumova of Russia (69.09m) threw further in the qualifiers.
They will be joined in Sunday’s final by leading German hope Christina Obergfoll and Australian Kathryn Mitchell, who was thrilled with her third biggest throw ever of 62.80m.
“It’s going to be the Kath and Kim show,” quipped Mickle.
“She’s put in the hard yards as well so it’s awesome to have two Aussies in there and actually in it with a bloody good chance.”
Now that she’s through to the decider, Mickle plans to simplify her pre-throw routine even further – from two specific thoughts down to none.
“I hit that point very nice but I definitely didn’t unleash,” said Mickle of the 65.73m PB, which she is confident of bettering again in the final.
“I’ve got this boom tactic that myself, my coach Grant Ward and Brian (Miller) have been adopting.
“That will probably come out in the second, third, fourth and fifth throw on Sunday night.
“It means ‘just smash it’.
“I the have two points that I normally think of … and boom is don’t think about those two points – just go for it.”
Mickle also has consistency on her side, having finished on the podium in each of last 10 events.