Basketball Mental Skills Article

How Pre-game Routines Improve Focus

Focus Like A Champion
A Page from Dr. D. Coffey’s Mental Performance Playbook

One key element of developing a zone-like focus is the creation of an effective pre-game routine. Pre-game routines establish the framework for transitioning thoughts from everyday life to sport performance. An effective pre-game routine improves the
mental game by helping the athlete focus during competition, which results in optimal performance.

When an athlete initially establishes a pre-game routine, it is important to consider the following goals and purposes.

1. The first purpose of the routine is to allow the athlete to get loose and warm up physically. For this reason, it is not simply a mental exercise but must incorporate physical movement that helps the muscles warm up, breathing increases, and nervousness is released. These exercises are most effective when repeated in the same order each time. This solidifies the routine in the mind. It is still important to maintain mental focus by keeping thoughts on the present, not concerned with issues from the outside world, or worrying over any negative concerns. Often, an athlete uses music to prepare, and utilizing the same playlist of songs also promotes the idea of finding strength in the routine.

2. As the body relaxes, it becomes more critical to focus on the game’s goals mentally. This is a time to imagine every scenario and your response to that situation. Mental preparation is good for any situation, and a planned response is much more effective than simply reacting as events occur.

3. Centering your focus increases your overall confidence. The pre-game routine allows you to restrict every situation in your mind and every positive response. This control strengthens your mental game by allowing a positive mindset. Confidence increases, and focus intensifies as a result. This also allows anticipation (in a positive way) for the game to grow in an effort to get “psyched up” for the competition.

4. When the confidence level is high, an athlete can trust their ability for success. Trust alleviates stress and worries that diminish the mind’s focus ability. Confidence fortifies mental toughness, resulting in an athlete performing at full potential.

The mental preparation for optimal performance occurs long before the actual game situation. A pre-game routine is necessary to eliminate outside worldly distractions and create a zone-like focus for the competition. Every athlete is unique, so pre-game routines should reflect that individuality. While some may find certain practices quirky or unnecessary in a pre-game routine, the fact is that any element that allows an athlete to deal with their focus while warming up their body is an effective means of a pre-game routine. When athletes begin their competition relaxed, warmed up, and mentally prepared, you know they have an effective pre-game routine.

On a sheet of paper, develop your pre-game routine.

All The Best!
Dr. Delice Coffey
Psychologist & Mental Game Coach

IG – instagram.com/drdcoffey FB- facebook.com/drdcoffey
Website – MindsetSportsPsychology.com
YouTube – YouTube.com/c/DrDeliceCoffey

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