Short Comments on
Mental Preparation for a Match

Bruce Gabrielson
Head Coach - SMWC
October 1999

I recently sent the following to a high school senior who wanted some advice about mental preparation.

What you need for mental preparation might be different based more on your personal experience than on what works for others. I suggest to my experienced kids that they don't overdue the concentration part, but at least start focusing on what their match plan is going to be within 30 minutes of the match.

You might want to walk around the gym or in the halls for about 10 minutes and think what you will do. Also plan an alternative approach if your main techniques don't work. Considering working from a short sit if the standup doesn't work, or trying to slip a cross body ride in if you're not as strong upper body as your opponent. If your opponent is very good, look for something that can take him to his back regardless of his ability, a move like a head lock or cradle.

Once you have a plan in place, the mental part gets much easier. The biggest thing is concentrate on what to do when one thing doesn't work. That way you won't loose focus during the match and have everything fall apart. The plan keeps you in focus regardless of the outcome of each step. It's nearly impossible to concentrate if you start to panic.