Getting ready for a big football game requires a ton of work. You have to practice regularly and study the opponent's tendencies. You also have to prepare yourself emotionally. The morning of the game, you will have a lot of energy. You may also be feeling a ton of pressure.  

Pumping yourself up prior to kickoff should help you channel this energy as you run onto the field. Psyching yourself up should also transform any nerves into precision and focus. 

Here are some ways to get your mind ready for a major competition.

Create a Routine

Even professional athletes have certain rituals that they follow before a key match. LeBron James, for instance, always tosses chalk into the air. 

For other players, such as former NFL running back Curtis Martin, the ritual was quieter. Martin would read a passage from the Bible to calm down his mind before a game.

Of course, what works best for these athletes may not necessarily get you pumped up. Figure out what motivates you and turn that into a pregame routine. You may even want to implement certain team-wide rituals to improve the squad's culture.

Listen to Music

Music is a great way to get pumped up before a game. Music can even help lower your stress levels. You can listen to your favorite tunes on your way to the stadium or while you are warming up on the field.  

Figure out what type of music gets you ready for game day. It could be rap, country, pop, or soft rock. Just make sure it is upbeat and builds to a strong crescendo.  The song should also have inspirational lyrics that make you feel confident and motivated.

Tunes with a heavy bass are particularly good for pregame playlists. Deep voices make you feel powerful and remind you of dominant personalities.

Find a Motivational Speech

You have probably seen professional coaches give big motivational speeches before a game. Your coach will likely try to do the same. Yet even your coach's or trainer's best efforts may fall flat. 

If you do not feel inspired by what either of them has to say, you can easily find famous speeches from other coaches or players online. As you listen to those speeches, imagine that the speaker is talking personally to you.

Get in a Good Mindset

If you tell yourself that you are going to fail, you probably will. Instead, imagine yourself making the game-winning catch or tackle. Research shows that visualizing success before a game is more likely to lead to a positive performance during the contest.

There are other ways to get into a good frame of mind. To focus your nerves, try concentrating on your breathing for a few minutes. 

Close your eyes and count to two as you inhale through your nose. Hold your breath for a second before exhaling through your nose for another two seconds. Repeat this process several times.

A body scan can be helpful, as well. It only takes about 10 minutes. Start by laying on the ground with your palms facing the ceiling. 

Close your eyes and concentrate on how your toes feel. Breathe a few times and then focus on the soles of your feet. Continue this process for each part of your body.

Finally, remind yourself that the game is not everything. Even if you fumble the ball or throw an interception, your family and friends will still love you. 

You will still have a home in which to sleep and a table full of food. Keeping things in perspective should take the pressure off you.

Getting pumped up before a big football game could be the difference between a win or a loss. If you come out flat, your team may fall hopelessly behind before the end of the first half. 

The above tips should help you remain excited yet focused on the competition. 


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