3 Ways To Mentally Prepare For A Big Game

Are you part of a team that has an important and decisive game coming up? Do you feel that although you have plenty of talent, you will end up folding under the immense pressure associated with decisive games? This pressure is most likely caused by issues related to your mental focus and preparation.

It is a common complaint amongst coaches. Their players perform excellent during practice, but when it comes to high-pressure situations, however, things fall apart. As common as it may be, there are ways to remedy this situation.

No matter the sport, all things being equal, it is the team that concentrates on physical and mental pregame preparation that comes out on top.

Athletes should keep the following strategies in mind while they are preparing for a big game:

Avoid external stressors

All athletes have a life outside of sports. Shunning the outside world in the days leading up to a game is not easy and issues related to family, work and school might add to the stress already present. Still, in order to make sure your mind is uncluttered and ready to focus on the task at hand, it is best to avoid as many distractions as you can. Make sure that you inform your coworkers, friends and family that you might seem distant before an important game as you are preparing both mentally and physically for the athletic challenge at hand.

Give yourself time to sleep and rest

All athletes who care about their performance suffer from some degree of pregame anxiety. Butterflies in the stomach, restlessness and racing thoughts are quite common. These anxious symptoms can make it hard to sleep. Nonetheless, nobody plays their best when they are tired. Getting a good night's rest before a game can make all the difference.

Make sure that your players understand that, to a certain extent, being nervous is a good thing. It is your body's way of keeping itself alert and focused. However, your nervousness is wasted if it occurs far too early and prevents you from sleeping. In other words, the same anxiety that is there on Thursday night will still be there right before the big Friday night football game. Clear your mind of all sports-related topics, take time to rest and avoid late night social events. On game day, use your anxiety as an advantage.

Use the power of positive visualization

Any qualified sports psychologist will be quick to stress the importance of creative visualization. Most successful athletes go through a pregame ritual in which they visualize what they are about to do. You can easily do the same.

This strategy goes far beyond simply imagining a winning situation or receiving any form of accolades. After all, everybody who plays wants to win and can picture themselves doing so. This is ineffective, and is the equivalent of fantasizing. In contrast, athletes who make the most out of visualization techniques use all of their senses. They will feel the pain of a tackle and they will hear their shoes squeaking on the basketball court. You must visualize the details to make the most out of creative visualization techniques as part of your pregame preparation routine.