You have your game face on and you are ready for the big day.
Or so you thought.
You may be asking yourself, "Where did this anxiety come from?" Try as you may, the more you think about it the more it will haunt you.
Here's what you need to do to shake the pregame butterflies:
Get Focused on Your Body
Good athletes know their bodies well. It is important to be present and aware of how you are breathing, what your muscles are doing, etc. Take some deep breaths. Count up to four or five as you inhale and out to five or six as you exhale. This will help you relax and stay in your body. You may even positively influence other players on your team by setting this good example.
Trust Your Training
There is an old farm saying, "The hay is in the barn." What this refers to is the time when a farmer cuts his hay, bales it up, drives it into the barnyard, and stacks it in the barn. When this is done it is a huge sigh of relief. You know the animals will be fed for the winter.
The same applies to your day. Your "hay" is in the barn. You have done all the training needed and have earned the right to celebrate your skills on this important game day. Don't try to sneak in any more training or try something different at the last minute. Trust that your body and mind are ready to compete. Celebrate and enjoy what you have successfully trained for.
Don't Allow Yourself to Get Distracted
While others may be distracted by weather, conditions of a field, who the opponent might be, what the team record is, etc., you just need to do what you came to do. Distractions take energy away from you. Conserve that energy for the game. Stay on task by visualizing yourself playing a great game.
Use Your Recall Button
Great athletes do not predict their next move or action based on their last failure. They stop, do a little positive self-talk, replay a great play in their head and then perform to their peak level. Hanging on to a missed or failed shot will not only affect your performance, it will affect the team as well.
Prepare for Glitches
It is one thing to mentally rehearse great shots in a game. It is how we expect ourselves to perform. I would be remiss if I did not suggest that you plan for that shot that you hoped would never happen. Just as you visualize the great shots, it is equally important to mentally rehearse the "glitches."
A glitch is when something does not go as planned or expected. It can broadside you if you are not prepared. Emphasis should not be placed on the bad shot, it should be on seeing yourself recover immediately. Since it is inevitable that we have these once in awhile, it will not take you off guard and you will have an image that resets you back on track.
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