Patrick Cohn asked:
Every day of your life, you are either thinking in ways to help you succeed and reach your goals or thinking in ways that limit your success, causing you to move away from goal achievement.
I am certain you have a practice routine you do on most days to build competence in your skills and thus gain confidence. Most great athletes do have specific routines they follow in practice to get better.
Some athletes follow a specific routine to help them prepare for a match or game. They eat the same pregame meal, arrive at the event an hour prior to competition, and engage in a precise warm up they have developed through trial and error.
Other athletes prefer to jump out of the team bus or car and compete right away. One of my recent golf students, for example, has no pregame routine and prefers to go directly to the first tee.
One of the advantages of a routine, beyond getting physically ready, is that it helps you adjust your mindset for peak performance (a mental warm up for competition). A pregame routine helps you get your game-face on.
However, some of my students have taken pregame preparation too far. They try to be so perfect with the execution of a pregame routine, and want ideal performance even in warm ups.
One tennis student, for example, had to hit every shot perfectly in warm ups. He was so intense that he thought he had to win warm ups.
You obviously do not need to win warm ups. A warm up routine is a great a time to prepare mentally and physically for peak performance.
But this student became unglued and started to panic when he hit a couple of poor forehands in warm up. This started a chain reaction in his mind. He began to doubt his strokes, “Can I play well today? ” This turned into trying hard to fix his strokes in warm ups.
Even before he started the match, he was confused, doubted his strokes, and was frustrated with his performance. Not the best mindset for successful performance.
Routines are important for your success, but a pregame routine needs to prepare you to perform well, instead of cause you to become a mental wreck before the first play or shot of the game.
The “Confident Athlete Workbook Series” uncovers mental game gems that help you obtain a confident, composed, and focused mindset prior to competition (the *big* three components of your pregame mental routine).
Nothing is more important when it comes to your mental game than starting the competition already in a winning state of mind. An effective pregame routine, which pops you effortlessly into a confident and composed mindset, helps athletes win every day.