Make sure you don’t pysch yourself out before a big game.

sports motivation

This may sound a little contrary, but an athlete’s most important asset is their state of mind. No matter how great you are at kicking, throwing, catching, or scoring, if your mind isn’t in the right place, you limbs won’t be either.

Competition is a big part of athletics, but it isn’t the most important. Sometimes before big games we can psych ourselves out, by overthinking possibilities, letting anxiety overcome us, or focusing too much on the end result instead of what is right in front of us. Here are five ways to motivate yourself before a big game in the healthiest way possible.

Think of the game itself, instead of the outcome. If all you think about is how important it is to win, you will stress yourself out and most likely play poorly. Focus on the tasks at hand as they are presented to you, like having a good start, keeping your stamina up, and playing to your own personal best.

READ MORE: Five Things to Know About Dating an Athlete

Set small goals for yourself, aside from winning. For instance, if you have been working on your footwork, set a minor goal before the game to utilize a new technique you learned. These small wins will take the pressure off the main goal and let you focus on your own part in the scheme of things.

Don’t think of the game at all. One way to motivate yourself and remove any game-related stress is to just focus on being in the moment. You can do this through meditation, stretching, or warming up, but find some way to bring yourself into the moment, and you will ultimately play better for it.

Try motivation mantras. Mantras can be as simple as the phrase ‘I can do it’ to a complicated diatribe on how you are a ‘goddess of all things sports’, but repeating a phrase that works to get you feeling good about your game will put you in the right frame of mind.

Listen to music. Music is a great motivator in most aspects of life, but in regards to sports it can not only reduce anxiety, but it can also pump you up (depending on what particular mix you listen to).

Regardless of how you motivate yourself for a big game, the most important thing to do is to keep perspective and know that the outcome is not tied to our personal self-esteem.