May 9, 2023

How to Stay Calm Before a Game

Mike Semenza


How to Stay Calm Before a Game Image

Hey everyone, Coach Mike with Blayze Soccer is back with a great session on how to stay calm before a game. Nerves, pre-game jitters, that queasy feeling in your stomach – these are all a normal part of athletic performance.

We want to help you tackle those nervous feelings and get your mind focused on the game. Read along for some proven methods Coach Mike uses to help you get your mind back on the game.

Calming Your Nerves Before a Game

I want to preface this by saying that every athlete deals with some sort of anxiety before their performance. Know that you are not alone and that every single athlete deals with this to some extent.

It is also helpful to understand that not all athletes deal with nerves in the same way. What might work for one player may not work for another. The trick is to try a few different techniques and analyze what works for you.

Methods I have found to be successful are visualization, breathing techniques, instilling confidence within myself, and listening to some sort of relaxing music or something that brings a sense of calmness to me.


Visualization is an important aspect of an athlete's ability game performance. Being able to relive moments from the games in your head and to remember the decision-making processes and techniques you used can help future performances. It helps to remind you of what you are capable of doing.

Visualize your goal from a previous game. Visualize your passing technique. Visualize what you do well for your team.

Instilling Confidence

Instilling confidence within yourself is easier said than done. One method I like to use involves visualization. I like to create a highlight tape of myself and watch it before the game. Whenever [I’m] nervous or I need to calm myself down, this highlight reel helps.

This technique helps to remind me of positive moments within a game, or when I hear the crowd cheering, it grows my confidence level. It allows me to stop the negative self-talk – which causes nerves – and focus on my positives.

Drop the negative self-talk and switch to positive self-talk because it will start sending signals to your brain of confidence, which will calm your entire body down.

Breathing to Calm Nerves

The next technique you can try is a breathing technique. Lay on the ground. Go into full meditation if you want. Take five or ten minutes before the game to remind yourself how important it is to breathe and how important it is to control and relax your body through breath.

When you get tired on the field, what is the number one thing you have to do? Breath! If you don’t breathe, you start to stress yourself out or you get worried you're going to pass out.

Listening to Calming Sounds

The last calming technique we will discuss is a common misconception. Many think that playing loud music and jumping around or dancing with your teammates before the game helps bring down your level of anxiety.

While it does for some people, it does not work for most. Listening to crazy loud music and trying to get all hyped up before the game, might hurt your performance. Sometimes this draws inner feelings within us that get our heart rate up, which heightens everything, and makes us more nervous because our breathing is rapid. See how all of these are connected?

Try listening to classical music, relaxing sounds, or maybe an inspirational speech. These can help calm your mind, slow your breathing, and help you focus on the upcoming game.

Nerves Are Normal

I'm acknowledging that nerves are okay, stress is okay, and anxiety is okay. If you can channel it into positive energy and instill confidence in yourself, you will have a quality performance.

You will want to try out a few of these techniques yourself. Some may work for you, some may not. Try them out and after your game, sit down and ask yourself if it helped to calm your nerves. If so, keep at it. If not, try another technique.

Start by using these techniques before your training. This way you have a better idea of how to approach your calming methods on game day.

Learn More With Blaze!

The secret to mastering any skill is practice! Are you looking to become a stronger player? Could you use direct feedback from a professional coach on how to improve your passing skills, communication, or vision on the field?

At Blayze we give you personalized video analysis coaching sessions and individual training programs, plus mentorship from professional coaches.

Our Blayze program breaks down the barriers to finding elite-level training by making top-tier coaches available for ALL athletes. Custom-developed coaching sessions can help you improve your on-field skills, so you are performing at your very best in every game. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, click here to learn more about the Blayze program!
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Mike Semenza

Coach For L.A. Galaxy Development Team


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