The big time athlete wears their headphones, pumping what you think is this intense music to get their mind right for competition. The pre-game talk that gets the locker room hyped before the game. The captain dances to rev up teammates or excite the crowd after team introductions. The half-time talk from the player you didn’t think would step up and share their thoughts, but has a point that resonates with the entire team and gets the blood flowing. The time out at the right moment that controls momentum and swings the game in your favor after a passionate, quick message from an impactful person that has surrounded the team all season.

These, and many more, are easily what television has created as moments that dictate the outcome of games. The glorious instances that occur unpredictably, and infrequently, in real life. But what can we do to make sure we are ready as individuals, as teammates, and as a collective unit? The mind controls our emotions, our confidence basically. Having an approach, not a routine, to game day may help but it begins at practice. How you approach practice really is what separates the good from the great. When you get up in the morning, is breakfast part of your first hour awake? Think of it as a pre-game meal. Would you miss that? Do you drink half your body weight in pounds in ounces of water before 3pm (when most high school practices begin)? You would prepare your body by hydrating properly before a game, right? Did you get 9-10 hours of undisturbed sleep? You would turn off your cell phones and the TV in your room so you can rest the night before a game (Please tell me this is true or we have no chance)?

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How do you approach practice if you have everything else above taken care of is what prepares the team. When you walk on the field, court, track, pool, or locker room, do you acknowledge everyone teammates and coaches? How many high fives do you give in the first ten minutes of being around your teammates? Or do you just sit down, check your phone (like you weren’t on it the entire drive to practice any ways.), and ignore the people around you since “practice doesn’t start until 3p”? Do you tell your teammates at least one thing that you saw them do well last practice? Encourage what you want to see in those around you. And be sure to ask your teammates to share one impactful thing they did since last seeing them. Allow your teammates to talk and connect with you through their life stories. Then finally, ask what you can do at practice to help them be more successful, more consistently.

The mind will appreciate the relationships and interactions you establish as you develop as a player, teammate, and team a whole. The confidence that comes from relying on another person through the trust establish by daily short, effective interactions will help you be prepared for game day.

So please listen to your favorite songs before practices and games, look so hard at your coach’s eyes that you know his eye color by heart, and remember to make time to get your mind right through the inter and intrapersonal skills developed from having a common bond. Check out this video with Stuart Singer, the founder of Well Performance, below to learn about the OAR zone.

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