Our 6-week Signature Program

Competition Ready

~ It All Begins with Preparation ~

Join Dr. Stephen Walker at the Podium Performance Academy’s signature group program – Competition Ready. This is a well-crafted and focused series of sessions addressing the most common concerns athletes and performing artists experience.  Whether you are preparing for tryouts or an audition, each session is crafted to equip you with the skills, understanding, methods, tools, and routines so that you can perform your best when you need it most.  

Session I:

Performing Under Pressure

Every athlete, performing artist, coach, parent, and motivated human being, must address our experience of stress.  Whether we experience that as anxiety or the fears that come from being tested, we always get a surge of adrenaline, sometimes a racing heart, and stress that can totally take over our mind/body.

Sometimes, we observe folks during these challenges who seem to be supremely confident in the same situation.  How do they do that?  What do they do that I don’t know about?

The simple difference is that they are able to focus.  They tune into things that help them pay attention to the right things.  They dial into the task-at-hand, and they reduce the chatter reminding them of how “stressed” they are.

This session focuses on “pre-competition stress” in all its forms.  Situations like tryouts, auditions, competing head-to-head for the same position, and more will be covered.

You will acquire an overall understanding of “how” we perform our best when the pressure is on.  We will learn breathwork, techniques to reduce muscle tension, focusing skills, and pre-performance routines that replace stress with the confidence “we can do this”.

Then we will add the ‘secret sauce’ so you know what to do, when to do it, and how to use it.  Breathe, absolutely, in just the right way to get the desired results.  Throughout this session, we will learn about “arousal control”, and the most important elements in achieving emotional composure.

Session II:

Managing Strong Emotions

Maintaining emotional composure is key to every peak performer’s success.  The human condition and our emotional attachments are at the heart of our inspiration, our “Why?” – and – the things that set us apart from those who can not “feel”.

Strong emotions are an essential part of being human.  Knowing how to properly manage emotions is a challenge for all of us.  Anger, Disappointment, Fear, Confusion, and yes, even Joy…. all contribute to mistakes – the kinds of mistakes – every one of us makes.

This session will help you gain a clear understanding of how thoughts/feelings/emotions and actions all work – together or against each other.

We will see how “triggers” cause us to “react”.

We will explore “self-talk” and learn how to rephrase statements that send us down the wrong path.

And, we will take a survey to see “we” are similar or different in “how” we manage our own emotions.

Our goal: is to learn how we can learn to “respond” rather than react… to maintain our composure … even in the most challenging of circumstances.

Session III:

Focus – Concentration – Execution

Making mistakes is a part of life.  Its a part of every game, every performance, practice session, rehearsal, and everything action we take en route to becoming better and better at our craft.  This session will begin with a clear understanding of the importance of how our mindset sets us up for success or failure.

This session will also leave a clear impression of just “how” our expectations can help us or hurt us – as we pursue “excellence.” These may seem like minor things, but perfectionism has ruined the motivation of many fine performers.

Once our mindset is established, and our expectations are framed positively – we begin to understand attentional focus, and we will acquire tools, techniques, and routines to properly prepare our minds and our bodies to pay attention to the right things, and do things the right way, so we perform well.

When we do this, we can focus on our PLAN.  We can visualize our goals and see/feel/imagine exactly “how” we will execute our performance plan.

Athletes and performing artists are in control of only 3 things:  preparation, effort, and attitude.  It all begins with preparation and our focus sets us up for success at every turn.  Or not.

Knowing how to shift our focus in the middle of our performance is also something that must be trained.  Visualizing different situations that come up in competition, enables us to make adjustments quickly and efficiently.

Session IV:

 Confidence Building

A program like this must address Confidence.  Confidence is one of those things we must learn.  We have to start building it from the moment we begin learning a new skill.  We must review our lessons consistently and frequently in adding on to our “base” Confidence.  Then, the hard part comes – How do we protect our Confidence when bad things happen…and they will?

Building Confidence is a skill.  It requires practice.  It requires preparation.  More importantly, it requires consistency in performing routines – designed to help.  Our goal is to feel “ready and focused” to perform.  Focused on the right things, and doing them, when it counts the most.

This is the most common concern among high-level performers.  Mastery in performing with Confidence is best seen observed when people consistently employ a number of skills we will demonstrate.  Journaling – power words – mantras – and reframing our negatives into positives.

We will model the ways we can work with our teammates to build a winning culture and protect our confidence even more.

Session V:

Building Your Team from the Inside Out

Support systems are key.  Coaches, parents, managers, athletic trainers, and fans – can all make a difference in helping us win with Confidence.

One thing for sure is that no one gets there alone.  Enjoying strong teammates, developing the right kind of feelings working together, and, enjoying the process as we go along helps us build the right kind of team culture.

This session will discuss how teams work well – or not.  We will also focus on what you can do about it, to protect your own confidence, and to shift the momentum in positive ways.

People always remember supportive and fun teams they worked with, but they try to forget quickly the ones that weren’t.

In this class, you will learn about how your thinking and self-talk contribute to your overall life experience, and especially how you respond in situations where adversity is a factor.  How supportive you are to you, and your teammates, we will explore those things that help and those things that get in the way.

We will learn positive thought habits.  We will work on a technique for using thought discipline as a valuable tool.  These internal discussions have an impact on how we define our own happiness and sense of purpose.

In the end, however, it is our “actions” that determine the results we see.  Actions contribute to our team’s cohesion.  Actions determine whether our technique in performing is fair, good or excellent.  Our actions include the choices we make to practice with a purpose, to respond rather than react, and eventually whether our experience is a positive one.

Session VI:

Questions and Answers with Dr. Walker

Each and every participant has specific situations and concerns they can receive assistance within this session.  Refining your routines, or experiencing a refresher of a technique, or just examining another way to accomplish the task – virtually any objective, concern, or question is fair game for this session.

Questions can be submitted before the session or asked during the program itself.  For those that submit beforehand, Dr. Walker may be able to prepare a handout or seek out a video that demonstrates a solution.

Thanks for sharing our time together, feel good about being, “Competition Ready.”


Podium loves teammates! Join with a friend and each of you receive 10% off of your registration.  Teams of 4 or more can enroll at 15% off for each participant! Group sizes are limited so act now to ensure your place.

Call if you have questions: 303.530.4439 or write [email protected].