How athletes can maintain focus before a game

Trying to maintain composure before a game can be difficult for many people, but staying cool, calm and collected is fundamental to succeeding as an athlete. Each individual athlete will have their own pre-match ritual and here are some ideas as to how you can gather your focus before a game.

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Concentrate on what’s happening now

When athletes start to think about the future or start questioning their performance in a previous match, this can really add to how nervous they feel. To stay calm, it’s crucial that you think about the ‘now’ instead of getting carried away thinking about the competition you’re in or what might happen if you win or lose this match.

It can be difficult to keep your thoughts focused as we all have a tendency to get carried away with ourselves. Recognising when your thoughts are starting to drift is a great way of keeping yourself focused. Understand what your trigger points are, and when you start to lose focus before a match, find ways to bring yourself back to the now.

For example, if you’re preparing for a rugby match, you may find watching a rugby drill video like will help you to re-focus on the match in front of you.

Make sure you have fun

You’re an athlete because you enjoy what you do and in order to perform under pressure, you need to have fun in the process. Feeling happy whilst you’re playing your game will help to keep you calm, removing any stress that you may feel when the competition starts to toughen up. Placing too much emphasis on a game will increase the amount of pressure that’s on your shoulders. And if you let things get too serious, you’ll start to feel nervous and your performance will dwindle as a result. When the fun goes out of the game, your natural ability will too. Embrace the game that’s ahead of you, and the competition that you’re in, and have fun with your friends and teammates before, during and after the match.

Don’t bring your goals to the match

You might want to score X number of goals in this game, or you may be trying to win this competition, but bringing these goals to the game is another way of putting too much pressure on yourself.