1. Always think positive
If you walk into a game expecting to lose, you’ll probably perform worse than you would’ve otherwise. Thinking negative thoughts will put you in a headspace where your confidence is eroded and you may not be able to put your best foot forward.
Not only that, but you likely won’t enjoy the game as much! Thinking positive is thinking like a winner. Even though there may be challenges and you may still end up losing the game, having a positive attitude will transform the experience and allow you to remain confident and avoid psyching yourself out.
2. Maintain your focus and intensity
If you can keep your focus and stay calm under pressure, you’re already on your way to better performance! Athletes will sometimes unconsciously stop playing their best when their team is in the lead and when victory seems all but certain.
However, maintaining your motivation and intensity until the very end will help you stay mentally strong and in the game – so you can perform at your best all the way through. One helpful trick is to block out everything distracting, such as people making noise on the sidelines.
3. Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t change
Focus on what’s important! There will always be factors that you have no control over, like poor weather, bad calls by referees, a teammate making a mistake, etc. In order to play at your best, you need to be able to ignore things you can’t change and bounce back quickly from setbacks.
If you make a mistake, pick yourself back up mentally as quickly as you can! Being stressed out and putting too much pressure on yourself is a huge hindrance, so work on switching your mindset to look forward instead of backward at all times.