Whether you play or train for rugby, you will perform better if you are prepared mentally as you are physically. In a game between teams who are equally matched, the winner is often the side with the strongest determination and mental strength.
There are players who are blessed with the right frame of mind or, at least, the ability to enter the zone whenever needed. Others have ups and down, sometimes without even knowing why. The good news is that you can learn to create the right mindset for maximum performance, it just takes a little practice.
Here are some ways to help you get into the zone for playing or training for rugby.
1. Develop a routine pre-match
Routines are a great way to help you into the right mental zone for rugby. Sticking to a routine takes the guesswork out of preparation for the pre-game and gives you confidence. If the pre-game routine generated success last time, it is only reasonable to expect the same result this time. This can include things like putting on your kit, staying hydrated and warming and taping up.
2. Create a playlist
Music can have a big impact on your mental condition. The right music can empower, pump up and motivate you to do your best. Most online music platforms let you put together bespoke playlists and save them. Some even offer a ready-made playlist in a particular genre. Feeling nervous before a big game? Music can help here too. Instrumentals and slower tempos can help you relax.
3. Accept your nerves
Being nervous is always viewed as a negative, but the flood of adrenaline is exactly the thing that pumps you up to do your best. Remember to expect and welcome your nerves, imagine that they are feelings required to increase energy levels. If you feel butterflies in your stomach, tell yourself that it’s just your body’s way of telling you that you are ready to play.
Whether you’re training or about to play, a short period of visualization will lead to a more successful performance and can help prepare you mentally. See yourself prior to kick-off, tackling, kicking and playing like a beast! Feel confident by nailing your training. Try some new Rugby Training Drills from Sportplan
Mental practice first can boost confidence in your ability and improve your performance. Visualise whatever works, just make sure it’s as real as you can make it, including things like sounds, sights, and emotions.
5. Turn the experience of nerves into positive comments
Your inner voice can have a big impact on your performance. The term “self-fulfilling prophecy” is real! If nerves make you question your skills, you could hear your inner voice becoming more negative, hearing things like:
I cannot deal with the pressure
I cannot do this
We will lose
I will do something embarrassing
I’m going to let my teammates down
If you say these things quite often, they are more likely to become real.
Instead, change your bad thoughts into positive affirmations. Negative vibes can impair your performance, while positive affirmations can help you do your best. Just take your negative thoughts and turn them into a positive. As an example:
I thrive in high-pressure situations
I can do this!
We are going to WIN!
I’m going to impress coach
I will make my teammates proud