Make sure you get a good night’s rest, eat the right things and have your kit bag packed with plenty of time to spare. It’s said time and again, but fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.
Listen to loud music in the changing room
Music can raise your intensity levels and gets the heart-rate up to a level similar to that of a match. Choose a track that is popular with the whole team, or with lyrics they can relate to. When the opposition hear that pumping through their walls, they will know that they will be playing a team that’s up for it
More after the break
Being loud and positive releases the hormone DHEA, which makes you feel good and switched on for a match. Football is a team sport, so if you can get each player showing a clear united front, you lay down a daunting gauntlet to the opposition.
You want your desire, intensity and will to win etched across your face. No one can make you feel inferior without your permission – do not give it to them. When your opponent looks into your eyes is he going to see a man or a mouse?
The ‘fight or flight’ theory states that in a threatening situation man will either stand his ground or run away. To make sure your opponent does the latter, be as dominant as possible – walk tall and stand solid. Get those heads up, shoulders strong and chests out.
Intensify your warm-up
Remind yourself of what you are setting out to achieve and how you are going to do it. Don’t fall into the age-old warm-up of just hoofing the ball at the goal from 10 yards. Instead, get used to the passing movement and intensity that you’ll be looking to replicate once the match starts.
Delay the kick-off with a team huddle
This last-minute team-talk will help ensure everyone is clear on their roles and responsibilities for the match. Furthermore, it will frustrate the opposition and make them restless as well as setting the tone for the match, which states that you are active and they are reactive.
Bradley Busch is a mental skills coach for InnerDrive.