How to Prepare Mentally Before A Game?

“Everyone has a will to win, but not everyone has the will to prepare.” – Vince Lombardi

How do you prepare? Have you seriously thought about mentally preparing for a game and match?

Are you aware of how to prepare that will benefit you most of all? Or do you leave it down to the team warm-up and rely on luck and good fortune on the day?

We are all different as human beings and our needs are different as a cricketer in the area of mental and physical preparation. Warming up is more than just a physical process. If you are to perform well, you must also be mentally and emotionally prepared. You may begin your preparation some days before the event.

In order to produce optimal performance, attuning to your bodies needs and psyching up mentally are key requirements. A vital aspect of this process involves first noticing your thoughts and feelings and then replacing the distracted thoughts. Mental distractions can undermine performance however well you are prepared physically.

Attuning Mentally

Being aware of what you need whether you are a batsman, bowler, keeper or all-rounder is paramount to being able to perform at your best. Just going through the motions while doing the warm up is insufficient to be at your best.

6 Factors That Affect Performance:

  1. Your physical sensations, thoughts & feelings (outfield, pitch)
  2. The individuals you are with (awareness of distraction, negative thoughts)
  3. The place where you are to perform (appreciate and know others strength & role)
  4. The group or team you are part of (team vision, goals)
  5. Your purpose and objectives of training (preparation plan)
  6. Your tactics – how you plan to reach those objectives

Preparation and purposeful practice are keys to success both at individual and tam level. How can you prepare fully and what can you do? Preparation should begin a couple of days early and certainly the night before the game. Being aware and thinking of the opposition, venues, specific dietary requirements, past experiences, mental rehearsal of specific skill-sets are vital for increased confidence and focus to be at your best on the day.

Purposeful Practice 4 Key Elements:

  1. Purposeful practice has well-defined, specific goals
  2. Purposeful practice is focused
  3. Purposeful practice involves feedback
  4. Purposeful practice requires getting out of one’s comfort zone


3 Step Example Plan to Mentally Prepare

Step 1:

Night Before

–          Thinking & Planning for the Game
Step 2:

Morning of Game

–          Pack Kit

–          Maintain Hydration

–          Proper Nutrition

Step 3:

Game Preparation Routine

–          Mental Rehearsal

–          Nutrition on Point

–          Proper Stretching

–          Correct Skills Rehearsal

–          Clarity of Goal

–          Positive Affirmations/Team Talk

Ex-Australian Cricketer on His Mental Preparation & It’s Importance

“I continued the process of gathering my thoughts, sitting down in an environment which was comfortable and going through the kind of expectations I had in store for me in the week’s period of the Test or the ODIs, getting used to the conditions, understanding where the breeze is coming from, what the bowler’s arms were going to look like, so that there were no surprises on the day, and just going through how I felt at that time.”

“One of the things that I miss the most about cricket and batting in particular is that meditation of cricket, that involvement of myself – mind, body and spirit – to delivering that one specific process, which is to execute a cricket shot.”


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