Mental Preparation for a Game

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Soccer4Life
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If you think that just warming up is suffiecient preparation for a game, then you're quite mistaken. Physically sufficient, yes, but what about motivation? For some motivation comes naturally every single game. For others, there may be little or no motivation coming naturally. This guide will help both people take their motivation to the next level, and hopefully their love for the sport, as well.

There are many famous quotes on motivation, but my favorite is the following:

"You are what you think you are."

Think for a minute... what does that quote mean to you? You don't have to delve into the realm of philosophy (although, I did), but do give yourself some type of answer. The rest of this guide will mean something different to everyone who reads it, depending on how they interpreted the given quote. It is doubtful that any two users will get the same out of this guide, but I hope that everyone can find it somewhat beneficial.

Table on Contents
1. Ways to Motivate Yourself
--1.1 Questioning Yourself
--1.2 Yelling
--1.3 Visualize Yourself
--1.4 Music
--1.5 Videos
2. Dreaming into the Future
3. Motivational Quotes

1. Ways to Motivate Yourself
1.1 Questioning yourself. Ask questions that you know you will always be able to provide a positive answer to. This can take place verbally, mentally or both. Ask questions like "Why do I play soccer?" then answer "Because I love it". Keep an ongoing string of these questions, and make sure they aren't empy questions. Ask smart questions that require deep thinking. Actually think before answering. Think about how much this means to you.

(Ex. What am I gonna do today? How many goals am I gonna score? How many people will I knock down? How many assists will I have? How many people will I let get by me? Why do I love this? Why have I made this my passion? How is this going to help me?)

1.2 Yelling. This is similar to questioning yourself, however without the questions. You can vent on the other team, your little brother, etc. It doen't have to be soccer related, just something to get you mad. You want your veins pulsing, and adhrenaline pumping. Vent, vent, vent; rant, rant, rant. Even if you do some non-soccer related yelling, probably add some soccer shouts, too, talking about anything and everything, but maily what you are going to do, and how you are going to accomplish that.

(Ex. This is my game! I can do this! I will do this! Nothing can stop me now! I'm at the top of my game! This is everything I have ever worked for! I'm going to give it all I got! I'm going to dominate! This is my time to shine! I won't let anyone take this from me! I deserve this for myself and to my teammates! Everyone will want to be me! I'm going to be the best!)

1.3 Visualize yourself. You need to see youself doing what you want to do. See it happening. Over and over again; more than once. You don't only need to do this before a game, do it during a game to for an extra boost of in-game motivation.

(Ex. See yourself making an amazing pass, cross, defensive play, save, move, or goal.)

1.4 Music. On the way to the game, or right before it, get pumpin' to some motivational tunes. A good idea would probably be to make a CD of all your favorite, motivational songs. Choose a variety of songs from those having a good beat, to those that contain lyrics that are very personal to you. A good song is one that makes you want to win even more than before.

(Ex. Yeah! - Usher, Remember the Name - Fort Minor, Pump It - Black Eyed Peas, etc. There is a whole thread on motivational songs, view it here: viewtopic.php?t=7761)

1.5 Videos. This is probably one of the most underrated ways to motivate yourself, yet it is one that works extremely well. You can watch any particularly dramatic or motivational scenes from your favorite movie, or watch football clips of amazing plays form YouTube. Preferably ones that have some good background music playing. This can go with visualization if you put yourself in someone else's shoes.

(Ex. Movies: Goal! The Dream Begins, Miracle, Bend it like Beckham, Walk the Line. YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fb2Xl49ZgNs, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szgpzvN8_Pw,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-bWsOK-h98, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-0XHkfUH-k&NR.)

2. Dreaming into the Future
One thing you must realize is that motivating yourself is just finding a way from inside to reach your goals. Although you may not have written this particular type of goals (e.g. winning a game), they are still goals. Motivating yourself is one part of a two-part goal. The other half is actually doing it.

Motivation is completely useless, unless you know what you are motivating yourself for. You need to have a dream; an ultimate goal that you work to acheive everyday. If you haven't figured out what you really want yet, then wait no longer. Think of what you really want to do, and dream into the future.

3. Motivational Quotes
These are some quotes that will assist you in motivating yourself. If you read over them, you will bring your motivaton up to the next level.

"All power is within you. You can do anything and everything. Believe in that. Do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics. Stand up and express the divinity within you."
Swami Vivekananda

"Today is the opportunity to correct the wrongs/mistakes of yesterday and to plan for a better tomorrow, thus a brighter future is ensured."
Written in 2003 by Matilda Wemega

"Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action."
Author Unknown

"I'm not working to make a living; I'm living to make a difference."
Carlos Paez

"Don't get comfortable; always stay motivated or you will be just like everyone else. Set yourself apart!"
Author Unknown

"Break the silence with your smile; Break the barriers with your confidence. This makes everything possible in Life."
Keerthivasan V

"Life is a lesson. A Lesson to be taught is in the past. A Lesson to teach is ALWAYS in the future. Look, Think forward."
Matthew T.

"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe."
Anatole France

"We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible."
C. Malesherbes

"Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as you mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve."
Mary Kay Ash

"The reward of a thing well done is to have done it."
Ralph W. Emerson

"The future is not a gift - it is an achievement."
Harry Lauder

"There is no great achievement that is not the result of patient working and waiting."
J. G. Holland

I used to have major problems with motivation, so if you do, too, remember that you aren't alone. I know many skillful players that just aren't motivated enough to go far. I hope my tips can help some people out, especially in the long run.
Last edited by Soccer4Life on 13 Mar 2007, 02:56, edited 1 time in total.

gnarlyjim
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Wow..just wow. Great post. Again, you prove to be one of the best members on this site. Good work.
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rzadzinski
Poland Spring Rzadzinski
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1.2 Yelling. This is similar to questioning yourself, however without the questions. You can vent on the other team, your little brother, etc. It doen't have to be soccer related, just something to get you mad. You want your veins pulsing, and adhrenaline pumping. Vent, vent, vent; rant, rant, rant. Even if you do some non-soccer related yelling, probably add some soccer shouts, too, talking about anything and everything, but maily what you are going to do, and how you are going to accomplish that.

(Ex. This is my game! I can do this! I will do this! Nothing can stop me now! I'm at the top of my game! This is everything I have ever worked for! I'm going to give it all I got! I'm going to dominate! This is my time to shine! I won't let anyone take this from me! I deserve this for myself and to my teammates! Everyone will want to be me! I'm going to be the best!)
Good guide. But this doesn't work for me. Getting adrenaline going is not really what you need to do. Gaining confidence is what's needed, not gaining adrenaline. I've read about this, and put a bit in my guide. But I liked your examples at the end. I usually do things like that, just in my head, when I'm visualizing. It's funny, I could be so ready for the game, and it looks like I'm sleeping. :P I might even give a yawn before I get out onto the pitch.
1.5 Music. On the way to the game, or right before it, get pumpin' to some motivational tunes. A good idea would probably be to make a CD of all your favorite, motivational songs. Choose a variety of songs from those having a good beat, to those that contain lyrics that are very personal to you. A good song is one that makes you want to win even more than before.

(Ex. Yeah! - Usher, Remember the Name - Fort Minor, Pump It - Black Eyed Peas, etc. There is a whole thread on motivational songs, view it here: viewtopic.php?t=7761)
Again, this does the opposite effect on me. When you try and get pumped, get the adrenaline going you get mad, which causes a negative effect. You might not be patient when defending, miss tackles and end up getting frustrated with yourself. Not what you want. I find that music gets me jacked up, but takes my focus off of my game. Visualizing in the car while it looks like I'm sleeping helps me a lot more. Also, at home, the night before I visualize what I want to do the next day. I do this again about an hour before I leave home for my game.

Just to restate my thesis, you think clearer when you are calm, and you make better decisions. You need to keep focused. And I guess those two things just get me off my game. You have to get into a state where you are thinking nothing but football. And some of these things may work for some people, and not for others. As I have pointed out already, those don't work for me because I lose focus. But visualization definitely does. See my guide for more on Visualization...

But I really like the quotes, those always motivate me to play. I use them as triggers (see Maximizing Your Performance Guide) to keep focused and put my game into high gear... :wink:

Yeah, I covered a few things like this in my guide. But it's not specifically for this, so good guide anyways. :D
"I wear tinted visor not to trick other players, but so hot girls in stands don't see me looking at them."

-Alexander Ovechkin

Real_Zidane
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Yeah, I would have to agree with what rzadzinski is saying. I tend to do much better when I calmly focus on what I am going to do and slow my heart rate down to concentrate. Keeps me less nervous and anxious before a big game.

And no offense but I don't really get the Serious face thing? Maybe it's just me but I don't see how that will prepare you for a game.

I understand this stuff can differ from person to person so it's really up to the player how to prepare, but this guide gives some good pointers

Anyway, it's a nice guide altogether. Good work and nice quotes!
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Soccer4Life
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Rzadzinski, your post makes sense, but I also think that being properly motivated and 'pumped up' per say can help with confidence, and when done properly can definately enhance physcial performance.
Real_Zidane wrote:And no offense but I don't really get the Serious face thing? Maybe it's just me but I don't see how that will prepare you for a game.
Yeah, I'm going to take that part out. I wasn't sure if I should put it in in the first place.

iwannagopro
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I liked the guide... for me I tend to work better when I am pumped. I am a lot more alert and ready to jump on the ball. Videos help me a lot, although before the game I just say in my head, today I will score, today I will score, etc.

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