How to Prepare Like a Pro Athlete & Achieve Success

May 1, 2023

Do you know what separates elite athletes from the rest? No, it’s not extraordinary talent or physical strength. 

It’s preparation. 

Denver Bronco’s quarterback Russell Wilson said, “The separation is the preparation,” and this is a quote I live by! 

Because when we take the time to prepare, we set ourselves up for success. 

Keep reading to get an inside look at how your athlete can prepare for her day, for her performances, and for her failures.

First Things First: Is Your Athlete Proactive or Reactive?

I had a big epiphany when I first got into mindset coaching. 

Instead of letting my performance ebb and flow with the day–instead of letting life’s curveballs dictate how my day would go–I discovered I could give myself the armor I needed to combat whatever came my way.

And it all started with proactive preparation.

When I learned to be proactive and prepare for my day, I noticed that I performed at higher levels. The successes just kept rolling in!

But before introducing these methods to your athlete, find out if she’s more proactive or reactive in her everyday life.

Ask your athlete: “Are you letting the day control you, your reactions, and your outcomes? Or are you taking control through preparation?”

Reviewing the benefits of a proactive, rather than reactive, mindset will help your athlete understand the value of the prep work you introduce.

Related: I’m hosting a Positive Parenting Workshop on May 30th. Click here to register!

Prepare Like a Pro for the Day: Lock In Your Morning Routine

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed,” said Admiral William McRaven.

His famous “Make Your Bed” speech illustrates the idea that a great day starts with completing this one simple chore.

Completing one small task each morning (in this case, making the bed) will encourage you to do the next task, and so on and so on.

“By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed,” he said.

I agree! And it’s why I always tell my athletes that their morning routine dictates their achievements.
Here are 3 things I insist my athletes do each day to set themselves up for success (and while they don’t have to make their bed–they probably should! 😂)

The Morning Routine

  1. First 30 minutes after waking up = no phone
  2. Practice gratitude as you get ready for the day
  3. Drink water and eat breakfast

1. Stay off The Phone

I encourage my athletes to stay off of their phones, especially social media and email, for the first 30 minutes of the day.

This gives them distraction-free time to complete the rest of their routine and helps reduce any negativity that might bubble up after scrolling social media.

I encourage you to read this article from the Child Mind Institute about social media use and teens.

2. An Attitude of Gratitude

Studies show a daily gratitude practice increases happiness by 25 percent!
Encourage your athlete to identify at least 3 things she’s grateful for each day. She can do this in a journal (I recommend my GROW journal!) or even on her phone if she must.. Just make sure stays off social media!

3. Water and Breakfast

Fuel up for the day with a good breakfast and plenty of water, and carry on that habit throughout the day with a goal of consuming half her body weight of water in ounces.

For example, if your athlete weighs 130 lbs, encourage her to drink at least 65 ounces of water each day.

Morning Routine Bonuses

The first 3 steps of the morning routine are non-negotiable in my book, but there are a few bonuses you can tack on if your athlete feels extra motivated:

  1. Add movement! (a walk, stretching, or even some yoga can do wonders for your mind and body).
  2. Dress for the part! (When we look good, we feel good! Encourage your athlete to present herself in a way that makes her feel confident.)
  3. Practice daily affirmations. (My GROW journal includes a section for affirmations.)

A solid morning routine is an essential part of my preparation process, so consider implementing one ASAP!

Prepare Like a Pro for Performance: Leave no Doubt

If you’ve worked with me in any capacity, you know I preach the “Leave no doubt” mindset on the regular. 

When your athlete prepares for her performances–whatever they may be–she can leave no doubt that she gave it her all. 

Here are 3 things I recommend my clients do to prep for performance.

Pack The Night Before

How many times has your athlete rushed out the door after panic-packing their game bag? 

This is a recipe for disaster! 

I tell my clients to make sure they’re 100 percent packed the night before. This includes making sure their uniforms (and cleats and glove) are ready to wear. 

This way, their brains will be in default mode on game day instead of being distracted by their “to pack” lists. 

The night before a game is also a great time to review past performances to make sure she is focused on her ways to extract her best performance. Need a fast and easy way to recap past performances, download my FREE performance log here.

Prioritize Sleep

According to the CDC, most teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. And according to this article, screen use may cause insomnia in teens. Yikes! 

So, consider implementing a routine that eliminates screen use at least 30 minutes before bedtime.


And no, pre-game stretching with the team doesn’t count! 

Your athlete should listen to what her body needs and independently stretch before and after games.
I recommend checking out Austin Wasserman for stretching exercises!

Quiet the Noise

When your athlete can quiet the noise of her day, she can focus on the tasks at hand. This means keeping the pressures of school, parents, and relationships off the field so she remains fully present. 
To achieve a quiet mind, help your athlete find her neutral; create a pre-game sensory routine that incorporates her five senses. Check out this blog post to learn more.

Prepare Like a Pro for Failure

You read that right! 

I ask my athletes to visualize and prepare for failures all the time. Because it’s going to happen. They’re going to strike out! They’re going to let a ball get by them.

But if we practice for failure–if we visualize how we’re going to respond in a positive way–we prevent ourselves from letting those failures dictate the rest of the game. 

And let’s say she visualizes this failure one or two times. This means that when she physically experiences it, she will feel more comfortable and know what to do because she’s been inside that experience multiple times. 

Lastly, visualizing failure also allows your athlete to see her failures as an opportunity to learn and grow (instead of a defining moment). She can use that failure as fuel instead of letting it get her down. 

Note to parents: When it comes to your child’s performance, the ONLY phrase you have permission to say after their games is, “I love to watch you play!” It’s not a time for performance reviews or nitpicking. Got it? Good! 

Related: Check out my positive parenting workshop on May 30th. Click here to register!

To Sum It Up

It sounds simple, but preparation really is THE KEY to success. 

When your athlete …

  • Prepares for her day,
  • Prepares for performance, and
  • Prepares for failure …

She will rise above those who fail to do so.

All it takes is a little encouragement from her parents and mentors! 

If you’re looking for more ways to make a positive impact on your athlete’s performances and life, join me for my Positive Parenting Workshop on May 30th. There, we’ll discuss several ways you can make a huge positive impact on your daughter performances. Can’t wait to see you there!

Your Mindset Softball Coach,
Coach D

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