Dialing up game day routines
By Ker’Shyra Myrick
Preparation is a big part of sports. Those athletes who are the most successful typically have a go-to routine for prepping their bodies and mind for competition.
And young athletes newer to sports can learn the value of having a routine they can turn to on game days, as well.
“Being a consistent performer comes back to a player’s habit or routine,” says Dr. Taryn Morgan, Director of Athletic and Personal Development at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. “Preparing right is key for players to stay consistent athletes and having a routine will help them do that.”
Having those familiar routines to call upon helps athletes feel prepared, which in turn boosts confidence.
“When a routine is in place, young athletes will not have to wonder how much time is needed to warm up or what to eat,” Morgan says.
Coaches and young athletes can experiment to see what types of game day routines tend to generate the best performances, and then utilize those going forward.
The same applies to those game day performances. Coaches, and parents, should help players dial into what they were thinking and feeling during those games when things were going well and pull up those good vibes and confident thoughts to bolster their play in future games.
“It is important for young athletes to learn from their best performances,” Morgan says. “Young athletes should ask themselves, ‘What went well? Why did it go well? What was I focused on? What helped me to play great?’ If coaches can help athletes identify all of these things, that will help them to get better in the future.”
For example, a young quarterback may notice they played well when they were really relaxed and locked in on scanning the entire field when they dropped back to pass.
“If that is what worked for them, they will want to keep doing that so it becomes a part of their routine,” Morgan says.
So, talk to young athletes about their game day routines; help them pick and choose what works best; and then help them stick to that process all season long to create more consistent and confident performers.
Dr. Taryn Morgan
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Princeton basketball coach Courtney Banghart, the 2015 Naismith Coach of the Year and widely recognized as one of the game’s great leaders, on what you need to know to get the most from your young athletes
Former college soccer midfielder and long-time youth coach Jillian Carroll on inspiring young athletes to work together and perform at their best on the field and in their lives
Former Stanford great Nicole Powell, head women’s basketball coach at Grand Canyon University, on creating team cultures where players genuinely care for and support each other