Quick Thoughts on Preparation


I know it’s been a little while since my last post. I’ve been really busy but I wanted to share some thoughts on a common theme I am seeing with many of the athletes I work with. Preparation before competition is a difficult thing to figure out. Having a routine that allows you to feel comfortable, ready, focused, and confident is not as simple as just doing what your coach says or reading up on a routine in a book. In an earlier post I wrote about what your expectations should be of a pre-competition routine and now I want remind you of the pitfalls of not doing your routine or having one that does not help you.

Many of my athletes discuss how it is easy to do their routines and feel ready during home competitions but then either forget to or rush through their routine when they are away. The common cause for this falls under a few different reasons: complexity, time, reminders, and usefulness. (*The following causes are not exclusive being at away events; the key is that not doing your pre-competition routines can lead to a lack of focus, higher stress, and not being physically ready.)

  • If your routine is too complex then you run the risk of either worrying too much about completing it or in some situations you will not be able to complete it.
  • The time you give yourself before a competition is also critical to completing your routines. Too much time and you may get cold or find yourself standing around. Too little time you won’t be able to get ready and be prepared.
  • Reminders are also important because under pressure it becomes difficult to remember our routines. Even if you go through your routine, if you feel pressured or stressed you may skip over important steps.
  • Lastly, is your routine useful? So many times I talk with athletes who have no idea if there routine actually gets them ready. You should feel physical and mentally ready, focused, confident, and comfortable.

Take time to review your routine and make sure you are getting the most out of it and feeling prepared.


Joe Spano

Joe Spano

Sport Psychology Consultant, Adjunct Lecturer
Joe Spano attended Boston University School of Medicine for his Masters degree in Mental Health and Behavioral Medicine with a focus on sport and exercise psychology. He has done consulting work with athletes, teams, and coaches across Northern New England. He has also spoken about the benefits of sport psychology at various conferences to parents, players, and coaches. While completing his PhD in Health Psychology he currently serves as the Sport Psychology Coach with the MAC/ Bollettieri Tennis Academy and Manchester Athletic Club in Manchester, MA.
Joe Spano


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