Game day. Kids have practiced well, know the game tactics, have the essential co-ordination and agility, at-least to the best of their capacity. But you are still anxious as to how will the team perform. Along with the physical training kids need mental preparation to overcome performance anxiety and outshine competition.
- Visualize victory
When you as the coach or parent are giving prep-talk, show the picture of victory. Do not talk about how bad it would hurt if they lost, rather tell them to visualize themselves as winning the game, with the trophy in hand. Visualization pumps up the body with positive energy and enthusiasm, that reflects in performance. Many top professional athletes use this technique for self-motivation, just before the game.
- Put your mind in the game
For most kids, playing is like reacting to the competition’s action. Teach kids to think while they are playing. They should be able to analyze their mistakes while they are playing such that they can make amends on the spot, they should be able to see the shortcomings of the competitor and take advantage on the spot and they should be able to make a game strategy for their own game on the field. If kids start putting their minds into the game and start playing proactive instead of reactive game, they will be able to take their game to the next level.
- Play it in your mind
As the kids wake up and start preparing for the game day, they need to play the game mentally. They should focus on how they’ll be facing the competition’s strong points, how they’ll overcome their weaknesses and build upon their strengths. Kids should imagine the action on field, this helps them be prepared for the field.
- Know competition
A day or two before the game the kids should be told to focus on the competition’s game. How do their star performers play, their typical winning shots, their shortcomings? This helps kids focus on the strategy. This also helps reduce anxiety.
Game is played mentally as much as it’s played physically on the field. Mental preparation helps players be ready for the challenges on the field. As a coach or parent, make sure you have a mental prep program that you rigorously follow with the players. This will not only boost confidence but will show in their performance.