Preparing for the Playoffs

Preparing for the Playoffs

It is the time of year where those deserving teams have earned the right to compete in the playoffs. This is about preparing for the playoffs.

It is a time when as a player and team you are mentally and physically prepared to be your best. Here are a few things that you can do to fine tune your mind, as you get ready to be rewarded for all of your hard work. It is a time to discover the athlete within you.

So here are something’s you can contemplate. The list is not inclusive of everything you can do to mentally prepare. I trust you will find a few things helpful on your quest. My best wishes to all of the players and teams in Hockey, Basketball and the others headed for opportunities of greatness.

Understand Your Why

Know why you are here. Why you have worked so hard to get to where you are today. All the inspiration in the world only takes you to the doorstep. Know your why to carry you to be your best.

Process over outcome

Focus on the performance aspects of your sport – executing skills in an effective manner, use appropriate tactics and strategy then the results will take care of themselves. Fill your mind with stuff related to performing and you won’t have much room dealing with anxiety.

Emotional Control

Go over your emotional strengths (Emotional Intelligence or EQ) and reinforce within yourself that you are in control. Acknowledge any weakness and go over your plan to handle certain situations. Preparation is key.


Believe in your teammates, coaches, staff that everything has been prepared to open the opportunity for you to be successful. This allows you to go out and execute the way you have prepared and trained.

Set your goals and make them real

Set realistic and high goals for yourself to provide motivation and focus to your efforts. Imagine what it will be like to reach your goals.

Practice makes perfect

This age-old maxim is true for your mental skills as well. You can develop and practice your mental skills on and off the field. It only takes a few minutes a day.
Focus on practice going into playoffs. Build intensity.

Develop a pre-competition routine

Routines help put you in a frame of mind for good performances and assist with mental preparation. They give you confidence that your plan is complete. Pre-game routines let you know that you are ready to perform at your best. They eliminate distractions and feelings that you have neglected something.

Use imagery to practice skills and go over tactics, strategies and coping skills

See and feel yourself training and competing. You can use imagery to learn new skills, practice old ones and see yourself performing in locations you’ve never been to all without getting sweaty, tired or injured!

Self-belief is key to success

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are both right!┬áRemember that the choices are yours.┬áSince you’ve chosen to train and compete, you may as well do it well. Choose to commit totally to your goals.

Associate with good people and methods

Most sports require individuals to work hard for many years to generate the potential to compete. This can only be done efficiently with help. Aim to develop relationships with coaches, training partners, team mates, family and friends. Sport more than many things is about relationships. When pro players retire they talk about missing those things the most.

Have fun

Competition is fun. The experience is fun. With all of the hard work we sometimes forget that playing is fun. Go out and enjoy the game and discover the athlete within you.