How to Get Pumped Before a Big Sports Game

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:13
Everyone knows how important it is to be physically prepared for a big game, but getting in the right headspace is just as important. Psyching yourself up before you head onto the field will help you play your best and have more fun....
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Everyone knows how important it is to be physically prepared for a big game, but getting in the right headspace is just as important. Psyching yourself up before you head onto the field will help you play your best and have more fun. That's why we’ve put together some of the best, easiest ways you can get in the zone before your big games. Check out the steps below to learn how!

Method 1
Method 1 of 4:

Psyching Yourself Up

  1. Step 1 Pump up the jams.
    Listen to music. Create a playlist full of songs with lyrics that inspire you (like the classic “Eye of the Tiger”) or infectious upbeat tunes (like “Lust for Life”). Avoid slow music, though. Instead, pump yourself up with songs full of energy, like fast rock, punk, hip-hop, or dance music.[1]
    • For an added boost, favor songs with strong bass lines. Studies have shown that listening to songs heavy with bass inspires a stronger desire to dominate than songs with little or light bass. "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen is a classic example.[2]
  2. Step 2 Stay active.
    Build your mental excitement by keeping your body excited. Stay on your feet and move around. Or, if you have to remain seated (like on a bus ride), find other ways to stay physically active. Stave off passivity by:[3]
    • Walking at a brisk pace
    • Going for a warm-up jog
    • Doing jumping jacks
    • Tapping drumbeats
    • Pumping your fists to music
  3. Step 3 Give yourself pep talks.
    Boost your excitement with positive speeches during practice and warm-ups. Run them silently in your head, or say them out loud to increase your physical activity and kill two birds with one stone. Don’t worry about making them long. Focus on positive phrases or even keywords with verbs that emphasize action, like:[4]
    • “Keep it moving!”
    • “Shut them out!”
    • “Charge!”
    • “Attack!”
  4. Step 4 Don't go overboard.
    Remember: as much as you may want to pump yourself up, you still have a game to play. Be sensible about how much you exert yourself beforehand. Avoid overstimulating yourself by:
    • Refraining from drinking too much caffeine or energy drinks.
    • Warming up as directed by your coach.
    • Getting plenty of sleep the night before.
    • Avoiding strenuous activity.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 4:

Building Team Spirit

  1. Step 1 Get together outside of practice.
    Set the big game apart from all the rest by making the day or night before a special occasion. Do something new as a group to reinforce your bond. Host a dinner, go on a road trip, or go to the movies to see an inspiring film together.
    • It doesn’t necessarily have to be the day or night before the match. Schedules might conflict, or your coach may want everyone well rested for the game. Just make it sometime soon before the big game.
    • You can make the upcoming game the focus of your evening if talking about it boosts everyone’s excitement. But you can also leave that for practice and focus on having fun instead. The point is to strengthen your bond and build team spirit, regardless of what you do.
  2. Step 2 Watch old games together.
    If possible, have someone film your games throughout the season. Then, before the big game, have a screening with your team to watch your greatest moments. Either watch your best game where everyone was on point, or create a highlight reel of individual plays and triumphs.
    • You can do this at any time in the days leading up to the game. Have a late practice and watch it after your workout, make it part of your special get-together outside of practice, or even watch it on the day of, on the bus ride there or in the locker room.
  3. Step 3 Sing as a group.
    Remember: listening to music is a great way to pump yourself up. So is staying active. So combine the two strategies and build unity and excitement at the same time.[5]
    • Sing whatever songs come to you as a group on the bus ride there for fun to boost your camaraderie.
    • Then decide on an anthem or anthem(s) to be your battle-song for warm-ups to stoke yourselves up as starting time draws near.
  4. Step 4 Give your team a pep talk.
    Focus everyone’s attention on the upcoming game with a quick speech. Do this during the practice beforehand, your get-together, on the day of, or all three. Keep it short, no more than a couple minutes, because you want your teammates to stay active to stoke themselves up, too. Also:
    • Focus on positive statements. Avoid calling attention to anything negative. For instance, if you haven’t won a game in a while, leave your record unmentioned. Instead, emphasize how well everyone has performed in recent practices.
    • Keep it simple. Leave strategizing and specific instructions to individual teammates out of it. Stick to general statements, like “We got this in the bag,” and “I know we can do this.”
    • Emphasize the team, not individuals. Avoid singling out star players and putting too much burden on them, which might psych them out instead of psyching them up. At the same time, boost other teammates’ confidence by always using the inclusive “we.”
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Method 3
Method 3 of 4:

Dealing with Nerves

  1. Step 1 Think of the big game as just another game.
    Whether it’s a match against your rivals or a qualifying game, remember: it isn’t played any differently than less important games. So strike the “big” out of “the big game.” Focus only on the nuts and bolts of what you have to do in order to win, not what’s riding on your performance.[6]
    • Keep this in mind when giving your teammates a pep talk, too. Avoid preoccupying them with what a win or loss might mean in this instance. Leave the special circumstances unmentioned and simply talk about the game as if it was any other.
  2. Step 2 Confront your fears ASAP.
    Think of all the things that make you nervous when performing. Now recognize that they don’t have any magical powers over you, and that your nervousness is a response that comes solely from you, not from some spell cast over you. So start challenging yourself well before the big game by meeting your fears head-on. Give yourself the added boost on game-day by looking back at these as challenges met and overcome. For example:[7]
    • If you doubt your abilities over a certain aspect of the sport (like sinking a 3-point shot in basketball or conquering hills in cross country), tailor your workouts or devote extra practice to address it.
    • If the presence of a certain family member, friend, or special someone in the crowd makes you self-conscious, invite them to practices or less important games beforehand, or even just to watch you shoot hoops in the driveway (or something similar).
  3. Step 3 Concentrate on your progress.
    Whether you’re thinking about yourself or your team, boost your confidence by tracking how your performance progresses from the start of your season throughout. Focus on your performance, rather than your record. Don’t get yourself down by confusing the two if you’re having a less than stellar season. Always emphasize how much you’ve improved, both individually and overall, regardless of how many wins you tally up along the way.[8]
    • Almost everyone experiences setbacks at one point or another during a season. Focus less on the setbacks themselves and more on how fast you recouped from them. Stoke yourself up by reminding yourself how quickly you can bounce back.
    • Remember: a loss doesn’t necessarily mean you performed poorly. You could just as easily play your best game ever during a defeat. So honor that performance by recognizing it as such.
  4. Step 4 Prevent other sources of stress.
    Whatever diet your sport demands, be sure to eat right in the days leading up to the big game and on the day of. Get plenty of rest in the preceding week, as well. Plan well ahead of game-day to eliminate any distractions that might steal your focus from your performance, such as:
    • Setting a double alarm, confirming all travel arrangements, and laying out and/or packing your uniform, warm-up gear, and equipment to reduce the chances of running late on game-day.
    • Completing any unrelated tasks, like homework or paying bills, beforehand so you’re not tempted to worry about them during the game.
  5. Step 5 Know when to dial back.
    Remember: pumping yourself up for the big game doesn’t mean going berserk. You don’t, for example, want to psych yourself up for a race so much that you burst from the starting line at a pace you can’t maintain. So pay close attention to your ability to focus on what you actually need to do during the game. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the stakes involved, try:[9]
    • Meditating to refocus your mind on the here and now instead of what the future may hold.
    • Distracting yourself with books, movies, slower music, homework, or hanging out with friends outside your team.
    • Making two lists regarding the game, one of things that are within your control, and another of what is beyond it, so you can refocus on what you can actually control.
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Method 4
Method 4 of 4:

Getting Excited as a Fan

  1. Step 1 Deck yourself out in colors.
    Show your team loyalty with your clothes. Wear official jerseys, jackets, hats, or other gear. Or, go through your other clothes and assemble an outfit reflecting the team's colors. Show your support and stoke yourself up by clearly identifying yourself as a fan so everyone else will treat you as such.[10]
    • You can also use makeup or even body paint to commit yourself that much more.
  2. Step 2 Throw a party.
    Boost your own excitement by getting others excited, too. Invite people over for a pregame rally. Go the extra mile and highlight your support by decorating the place and creating fun activities centered around the game. For instance:
    • Buy colored napkins, plates, cups, and other party gear that match your team's colors, or even use official gear if it's available.
    • Play a highlight reel of past wins and amazing plays as background entertainment.
    • Host a trivia game focused on the sport itself and your favorite team.
    • Get a pool going regarding plays, scores, injuries, and other factors.
  3. Step 3 Get out of the house.
    Unless you're hosting a party, watch the game somewhere other than your usual surroundings. Make it a special occasion by opting for a viewing experience that will set it apart from Saturday morning cartoons, Sunday talk shows, and nightly news. Try:
    • Buying tickets to the game itself to watch it in person, if possible.
    • Going to a bar, restaurant, or other establishment that will be showing the game on TV.
    • Going to a friend or family member's place to watch it with them.
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