Off-season mind gym

From visualisation to setting yourself fresh targets, West Brom's peak performance coach Tom Bates explains how to return from your summer break feeling tip-top courtesy of his cerebral workout

TAKE SOME TIME OUT – REST IS VITAL
When a battery gets used constantly it needs time to recharge. Players are the same. Throughout the season you will have worked very hard physically, technically, tactically, mentally and emotionally so the rest period is crucial. By giving your mind and body a chance to recover you will feel a surge in energy levels.

REFLECT ON YOUR PAST PERFORMANCES
Evaluate your performances last season and ask yourself: “How can I improve on my best?” Accept the things you’ve already achieved and look back on the things you’ve struggled with. Be honest in your approach to your game and you will return to pre-season with a structured plan for improvement.

More after the break

SET YOURSELF NEW-SEASON TARGETS
Set performance goals early. Have a clear vision of what you want to improve, write them down and ask your coach for their views. Connecting action to intention injects enthusiasm, builds the focus and ignites drive. Create a clear picture of your personal training diary and make sure you stick to it religiously.

VISUALISE SUCCESS TO KEEP MOTIVATED
By identifying what you want to achieve during pre-season you will generate goals and connect with the emotions you’ll feel if you achieve your goals. If you visualise yourself looking faster and fitter during pre-season, you’re going to feel more energised and emotionally motivated to produce those results.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY
Concentrate on your strengths and love of football, and surround yourself with positive influences. Try to cut energy-sapping people and habits out of your regime and fine-tune your engine with stretching, yoga or swimming. It might sound airy-fairy, but taking these steps will leave you feeling energised for pre-season.

Also see:
Use your mind to mend your body
Staying performance focused before kick-off
Coping with being dropped
Staying confident during a goal-drought
Mind map to your perfect season

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