Learn How to Best Prepare for Competition
Do you start competitions slow? Some athletes start slowly in competitions because of a lack of pregame preparation.
These athletes go through the motions in pregame and believe they can flip the switch once the competition starts. Unfortunately, this mindset at the start of competition does not help you start well.
While you think you can work your way into the physical flow of the game, your lack of mental preparation will show at the first sign of adversity or pressure.
To make matters more challenging, if you start the game slow and your opponents are mentally engaged from the start, you may fall behind quickly and give your opponents the edge.
The Snowball Effect
Ignoring pregame mental preparation sets a negative tone for a competition. Early mistakes lead to more errors. These mistakes give your opponents an early advantage.
Still, you believe you can easily and quickly turn things around. However, your lackadaisical play continues. You mess up routine plays, and your opponents build an early lead.
After several minutes, you can’t seem to close the gap in the score. You start feeling pressured not to fall behind by too many points. Nothing seems to go your way, and your opponent’s lead appears to become insurmountable.
You become frustrated and make more careless mistakes. You feel overwhelmed, embarrassed, and fear criticism from your coach, teammates, or parents.
Even though the competition hasn’t ended, you think you have lost. You want to walk off the field and end your misery.
Not being mentally prepared is like giving your opponent a head start or spotting them points/goals before the competition or game begins.
Pregame mental preparation gives you a significant edge and helps you mentally fire on all cylinders from the first pitch, whistle, tip-off, puck drop, etc.
Professional Sports and Mental Preparation
In a midseason 2022 MLB game between the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto set a franchise record for runs in a game (28), beating the Sox 28-5. Meanwhile, Boston set a franchise record for most runs allowed in a game (28).
Toronto committed to starting the game with an energized winning mentality. Toronto interim manager John Schneider stated his team made a conscious decision to be mentally and physically prepared from the game’s very first pitch.
SCHNEIDER: “We talked about it before the game, how you can come out a little bit sleepy or you can come out hot. I think we came out hot, obviously.”
Talent alone does not win games or lead to peak performances. Playing at your peak requires conditioning and preparation. When you commit to a motivated mindset, you will approach pre-game preparation with the same importance as the competition.
Simply put, peak performance starts with peak preparation. Think of how you want to start a competition. What mindset will produce peak results?
During your pregame preparation, visualize yourself starting the competition with this mindset. See yourself being confident, feeling energized, and firing on all cylinders.
In addition, be sure to have your intensity up at a level that you can focus your best and this level is different for each person. Do you need to be fired up or relaxed to have a good start?
For all our confidence-building strategies, check out “The Confident Athlete” audio program on CD or digital download…
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- The Mindset to Perform at a Higher Level
- Having Fun While Performing at Your Best
- The Importance of Mental Toughness
Download a free sports psychology report to improve your mental game!
The Relaxed Athlete
You can possess all the physical talent in the world, the best equipment money can buy, and train harder or longer than anyone else in your sport or on your team, but if self-doubt enters your mind prior to competition, you simply will not realize your true potential in sports.
The Relaxed Athlete” audio and workbook program teaches you mental strategies to develop a focused and confident pregame routine for a poised and relaxed mindset. Learn how to get your mind right by overcoming pregame anxiety and worry.