Clint Dempsey: Mental preparation

Seattle Sounders and USA striker on listening to Slim Thug and watching The Mickey Mouse Club

How do you prepare yourself mentally for a game?
I try not to worry too much about a game, any stress will hinder your performance. On the morning of a game I will just watch cartoons with my daughter, a bit of Dora The Explorer or Mickey Mouse club. I think the club has a sports psychologist they can put you in touch with, but I don’t really use them, I have my family for things like that.

Are there any mental techniques you use like visualisation?
Sometimes I will think about scoring a goal, but not too much as hoping for things can stress you out. Certainly not early in the week, but maybe on the bus I will put on my music and start visualising the game we are about to play. I like to listen to some rap music to get me in the mood for games, people like Lil Wayne and Slim Thug.

More after the break

When you wake up on a Saturday morning how do you prepare for a game?
They recommend you have breakfast and lunch, but I prefer to eat lightly, and get as much sleep as possible. I will sleep in to about 10.30am, and then go and get a ham and cheese baguette near where I live in Wimbledon Village. Normally we have to be at the stadium at 1.15pm to review tapes, go over set-pieces, and make sure everyone knows what is expected of them in the game.

What do you like to do just before kick-off?
When I come in from the warm-up and have built up a bit of sweat, I will have a Lucozade and then before I go out for the start of the game I have some water and half an energy bar, and I’m ready to go.

How do you recover from a game?
On the Sunday if we have a midweek game, or on the Monday if we don’t, we will have a rub down, an ice bath and get on the bike to get rid of lactic acid in our legs before another week of training begins.

For more football tips see:
Wayne Rooney: Big match preparation
Theo Walcott: Big match preparation
Gary Neville: Become a master of mentality

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