Pre-Game Mental Toughness Checklist for Sports Success
Athletes often have a checklist of things to do pre-game, including getting taped, reviewing plays, and warming up with stretching routine. Sport psychologists would recommend athletes add to their pre-game checklist and include specific mental toughness routines to help with confidence, focus, and resiliency. This week I would like to offer a few basic considerations all athletes can include to their pre-game mental toughness prep that will lead to maximum athletic efficiency and production:
- Attitude. Keep in mind attitude is a choice and completely under the athlete’s control. By choosing a positive attitude you not only give yourself a better chance to play your best, but this attitude is infectious to teammates, too.
- Focus. Athletes need to quickly identify relevant focal points (i.e. knowing your role going in to a game) while letting go and ignoring irrelevant factors (i.e. the weather or opposing fans). While it may seem simple, it is important for athletes to remind themselves of this pre-game so that they can go out and focus on what is important for success while letting go of things that get in the way.
- Preparation. I always recommend athletes revisit their goals before every game so they can get centered and be reminded of why they put in all those long, hard hours of practice. Just a simple review of goals can trigger positive memories and help with getting your attitude where it needs to be for the upcoming game.
- Resiliency. Stress inoculation is a technique where you think ahead to things that are likely to be stressful — for an athlete this might be mentally rehearsing what it is going to be like playing in front of an opposing fan base who are known to be loud and rowdy. The idea is to think of the situation ahead of time but then also develop a coping response that will help minimize the distraction. Resiliency might be the single most important factor to sports success, so be sure to use stress inoculation as a technique to galvanize your mental toughness!
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