3 Ways to Stand Out on Game Day

There are many talented athletes that play sports, yet many never perform to the best of their capabilities on game day. Although there can be many causes for this, in this article we will focus on three of those obstacles. If not addressed, these obstacles often result in inconsistency, constant struggle and sometimes damage the long-term development of the athlete.


There are many things to distract an athlete on game day, many of which are beyond their control. These include but are not limited to position, playing time, opponent, fans, parental expectations, peer pressure, fatigue, perspective. If one of these are in place, it makes stand out performance difficult, so just picture what it’s like for 2 or more of these distractions taking place at once. It will make it hard for anyone to do well.

  • The solution: Discipline. Control what you can control. Do what is right, give best effort, make adjustments, and commit to being the best athlete the athlete can become no matter the score, your ranking or status. 


Three factors in particular that interfere with stand out performance are fear, frustration and failure. These all lead to anger. With any of these emotions taking over, the athlete becomes irrational, slow to respond, negative and less engaged.

  • The solutionMental agility. When unfavorable events occur, the athlete who can most quickly adjust is the athlete that will stand out on game day. Athletes who can do so have greater success in correcting plays, learning lessons and having a better attitude towards the game.


Pressure is a combination of the other two obstacles. An athlete under high pressure can begin to doubt their skillset and their performance, which will clearly have a negative effect on their overall game.

  • The solution: Preparation. When an athlete has time to mentally and physically prepare for game day, the pressures of game day are less likely to have an impact on that athletes performance. All athletes will have different ways to get mentally and physically prepared. However, the end goal is the same. Arrive to your game/match/race, feel strong, ready, and trust you have the power to achieve the goals you’ve created prior to the event.  


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  1. My high school track coach often pointed out kids with “blank stares“, waiting in the paddock before their race. No matter their ability level The blank stares were a sure sign they were going to underperform in that race. A good way to avoid the blank stares is to focus on your breathing. Make sure you’re getting the right amount of oxygen prior to racing. Make eye contact with the people around you. If your teammates are there encourage each other with a hand shake.

    Another great way to deal with nerves on game day is to get into your best warm-up routine. It’s something familiar and essential. It takes your mind off of the competition, but at the same time get you literally ready for the competition.

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