There are many ways for an athlete to prepare for game day. Players have healthy habits, routines and rituals to get them ready to face an opponent. In my college playing career, these were the things that I liked to do before taking the court.
1. Eat Healthy
Top athletes who want to be on the top of their game, feed their bodies with food that enhance their performance. Eating oatmeal, grilled chicken, eats and raw nuts and seeds can boost a players nutrition and play. Having a well balanced diet and keeping your body in tip-top shape will get any player ready to face any opponent.
Along with eating well, comes taking care of your body in other ways, such as allowing yourself adequate rest. Allowing yourself the necessary down time before a match can inhibit an athlete’s performance.
2. Reflection/Mental Imagery
Taking time to mentally prepare for a match or meet can get a player’s mind right to perform to the highest level.
By taking the time to clear your mind and go over what you need to accomplish to be successful, you as an athlete are making yourself better. A level, game-like mental attitude makes for a more agile, playing mind.
This for me, required me going over scouting reports and imagining myself successfully completing tasks for a match.
3. Following a Routine
Whether by superstition or a way to live your life, a routine is a way to get yourself prepared to start your day or ready for a match. From eating the same meals, to dressing the same or watching the same television shows, it all can get your ready for a match.
As a player, to get your mind right you must keep a level mindset. Having a normal routine can keep your power, game-like mentality in check.
Before every match that we played, my team and I would play, sing and dance along to the same song before taking the court. This got us ready for a match as the routine of playing the same song got in the right mind to play.
4. Get Focused
Having all the game plans and routines won’t do you any good as an athlete if you cannot get focused for the match.
Keep you thoughts, mind and conversations close to game time on the game. Talk strategy with your team, get ‘pumped up’ with your team and get yourself ready to perform with your team. Team comradery is crucial and being able to get focused will help propel you to performing better.
5. Have Fun!
What is the point of playing a sport if you cannot have fun with it?
The best part of my playing career was getting on the floor with my teammates knowing I was about to play a sport that was fun, something I enjoyed. Yes, winning is a very fun part of playing a sport, but enjoying the time with your teammates and the sport itself is crucial to your overall success.