Mentally Preparing Before a Volleyball Match
Success is largely a matter of consistency. Not necessarily consistency in play, but consistency in everyday life… Especially before and during a match.
Kerri Walsch Jennings, a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and one-time Bronze Medalist in Beach Volleyball, has routine in her day, as well as before a match.
Walsch Jennings maintains a particular diet throughout each day in order to fuel her body appropriately and support her routine. She also has a very specific mantra in which she repeats before each game.
Her mantra comprises, “Breathe, Believe, Battle.”
She says these strong, motivational words to herself in order to prepare herself mentally.
Additionally, she has a certain playlist she listens to called, “The Hunt.”
She believes that when she is out there competing, she’s the hunter, so she gets into that mindset. The playlist includes a mixture of songs and artists from 80’s pop to Nicki Minaj.
Repeating her mantra and listening to “The Hunt” mentally prepares Walsch Jennings for competition. It’s something that she does before each game.
She’s consistent in her preparation and her career has been filled with success.
In order to prepare mentally for a match, you want to establish a pre-match routine, something that you do before each game. It can be a playlist, a positive phrase about yourself or game, a prayer; almost anything, as long as it resonates with YOU.
My personal pre-match routine included dressing the same way (knee pads, three socks, and shoes on my right leg, then on my left), listening to “Put On” by Young Jeezy, and saying a prayer during the National Anthem.
Doing those three things before a game hyped me up and allowed me to focus in on the task at hand.
Also, there are certain tasks within a volleyball match that you want to trail a routine…
For example, serving and serve receive. Have a regular, brief routine when you step behind the service line to serve. Also, develop a routine if you pass in serve receive.
Having a consistent pre-match routine helps you to prepare mentally for a match. When you’re steady with your preparation, you have a greater chance at being consistent in your performance… That leads to success.
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Dr. Megan Melchiorre is a mental game coach specializing in volleyball and is the newest member of the Peak Performance Team starting in office May, 2018. She competed collegiality in volleyball and coaches club volleyball teams.