This town offers so much to its people and the soccer community is amazing. This community allowed me to continue to participate in the sport that I love so much. As 2018 is coming to an end a new season is around the corner. Sunday league is here! In just a few days, another exciting season is starting here in Asheville. The ABASA adult league is one of the most anticipated events among the soccer community. An 8-week season full of fun, passionate and competitive games. Each division and league offers something different for the fans that come together for these games. Some are more competitive than others but nonetheless every person that steps on the field gives it all they have. Here are a few tips for athletes on how to improve their pre-game routines and have and edge up on their competition.

 

Routines in Sports 

Routines are crucial for high athletic performance. They allow athletes to feel more in control before, during and after competition. The nature of sports is unpredictable and determined by human ability. By controlling what we can individually, we are able to make immense contributions towards our teams. The addition of a routine or rituals can help athletes in creating the perfect mental state for every Sunday game. As the study of sports psychology grows evidence of the importance of pre performance routines does as well. Some athletes may refer to these routines as rituals and we can all relate to these rituals specially if you have been playing soccer for a long time. You know! Tying your shoes in the same order every time, always stepping on the field with your right foot first. However, in the world of sports psychology these rituals are known as routines because the word ritual can take away from the purpose of the routine which is to fully prepare the athlete (Taylor, 2012).

 

Pre-performance Routines and How Do They Work?

Evidence shows that pre-performance routines can help regulate arousal levels, takes attention away from irrelevant task, and it helps regulate a perfect physiological, emotional, and mental state right before and during the performance (Gröpel & Beckmann, 2017).

The use of these have been investigated across a wide range of sports including, soccer, basketball, golf, and tennis (Gröpel & Beckmann, 2017). Taking advantage of this can mean a more relaxed but competitive environment for the individual. In addition, they can also help with neuromuscular pathways (Kelly, 2015).

For those who want to do it, putting this into practice is simple. You can start by packing your soccer bag the same way every time. Create this task as part of your routine getting ready for the games. If you have time double check that you have everything you need. Next, you can take a minute to clear your mind, this takes a bit more effort but taking a couple of deep breaths and releasing slowly while focusing on the breath can help. Remember, you want to push away irrelevant task cues. Another step you can take in creating your these routines is being present and purposeful during your warm up. Make sure that you stretch what you need and if something is feeling tight take an extra minute to stretch it out. This can help in making sure that you have everything you can under your control and it will help you become more in tune with your body which will help during competition. 

Remember that these routines are unique to you, they are whatever works for you. Make sure you keep it simple otherwise and not something that stresses you out. So remember athletes, anyone regardless of level can implement these to their game day. As you get ready for this season try this and see how you feel. Good luck athletes and see you all out there!

Gröpel, P., & Beckmann, J. (2017). A Pre-Performance Routine to Optimize Competition Performance in Artistic Gymnastics. The Sport Psychologist, 31(2), 199-207. doi:10.1123/tsp.2016-0054

Sports: Why the World’s Best Athletes Use Routines. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201207/sports-why-the-worlds-best-athletes-use-routines

Sports Psychology – Pre Performance Routine. (2015, March 30). Retrieved from https://believeperform.com/performance/how-to-develop-an-effect-pre-performance-routine/

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