Children embracing after race

Apr 03, 2017 / Sports Medicine

Mental Preparation for Competition

Sports involve a balance of physical fitness, sport-specific skills, commitment and mental toughness. Athletes dedicate many hours of physical training to prepare for competition; however, many do not dedicate enough time to mental readiness.

To maximize performance on “game day,” try including these key elements in your mental preparation:

  • Positive attitude: Practice saying optimistic and encouraging things to yourself to boost confidence.
  • Plan and visualize: Imagine a play or visualize a successful shot to help improve performance.
  • Consider obstacles: To avoid getting distracted, take time to plan how you will handle and overcome potential challenges such as bad weather or schedule changes.
  • Game-day routine: Develop a preperformance routine to improve focus and help you stay on track every game day. A consistent preperformance routine boosts confidence and lets you know you are ready to go. For example, an athlete may prep for each game day by eating breakfast at a certain time, listening to music to relax during travel, visualizing their performance while standing on sideline before the game, etc.

Erica Force, Ph.D., C.C.-A.A.S.P., has practiced as a licensed psychologist with a focus in sport psychology since 2012. She is a registered Sport Psychologist for the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. Upon completion of her pediatric post-doctoral fellowship at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in 2015, she joined the Psychology team. Utilizing her credentialing as a Certified Sport Psychology Consultant, she sees patients on our North Campus in Plano. Dr. Force has co-authored publications in prominent journals focused on the psychology of sport.

For information about injury prevention and pediatric sports medicine, please visit our Sports Medicine page

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