Mental Edge: How a pregame routine helps athletes succeed

Photo: Kevin W. Fowler/The Lansing State Journal

Are you anxious prior to competitions?

Do you feel unsure before a game and fearful that you might mess up? Prior to a competition, are your thoughts scattered and your mind filled with distractions? Do you find it difficult to mentally prepare for a competition and get into the right mindset Anxiety, fear, worry, and the inability to focus and difficulty getting into a competitive mindset are some of the major reasons for slow starts and under-performance. Do you ever wonder how some athletes seem confident and just ready to compete from the start of competition?

The secret is really no secret at all…

Top athletes utilize a precompetition or pregame routine that helps reduce distractions, minimize anxiety and allows them to slowly narrow their focus.

Basically, successful athletes use pregame rituals to prepare to compete and enter the competitive mindset that best suits them for optimal performance.

How do pregame routines work?

Well, when you are focused on your pregame routine, you are not focused on the ‘what if’s’, the strengths of your opponents, the noisy spectators, past performances and other distractions that generate anxiety and create fears and doubts in your ability. Since you can only focus on one thing at a time, paying attention to your pregame routine grounds you in the present, keeps you relaxed and minimizes distractions. Also, as you move through your warm up routine, it narrows your focus and moves you into your optimal competitive mindset.

Integrate your pregame mental preparation strategies to help you feel confident, focused, and ready to trust in your skills. Stay focused on preparing yourself — mentally and physically — for the upcoming game, not on your opponents or the outcome! Once you finish your warmup routine, you mind sends a signal through your body saying, “I’m ready to compete. Let’s go!”

More High School Sports