Friday, July 03, 2009


Preparation Routines for A Winning Mindset

The following is an exceptional article and my comments on preparation before a game,
by Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D., Master Mental Game Coach.

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 1
hour prior to competition, and engage in a precise warm up they have
developed through trail 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 jump out of the car and onto 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.
Yes, too far. They try to be so perfect with the execution of a
pregame routine and want ideal performance 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 or poor forehands in warm up. This started a chain reaction
in his mind. He began to doubt his strokes - 'Can I play well today?'
- and 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.

You now know that I think 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.

My Insights:
I want to also point out that your pregame routine can be different than
your prepractice routine. Make your pregame routine better than your
prepractice routine by adding something special that makes you
comfortable (ex: your favorite meal five hours before).


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