Preparing to Play - A Mental Warm Up

an Abrahams is a global sport psychologist helping people to high perform. Get more from Dan at

This is an excerpt of Dan's article in the latest issue of Amplified Soccer Athlete magazine.

How do you conduct yourself in the hour before kick off? What do you do? How do you go about preparing for an important game?

I think these 60 minutes are the most important of the week – they are 60 golden nuggets to set the tone of focus, and build a momentum of confidence. As the match approaches, you should have protocols that help your body and your mind attune to competitive intensity. 

So let’s go step by step through a great pre-game mental warm up. I hope it will help you.

Have a Script

In my books Soccer Tough and Soccer Brain I introduce the reader to the idea of a match script. The script is something I ask all my clients to create no matter their age or level. In short, it is several controllable plays that you want to focus on and you want to achieve  during a match. They should be related to the responsibilities within your role and/or mindset. Let me give you a couple as an example:

  • Always on my toes
  • Head up, find space
  • Track my man at all times
  • Non-stop movement
  • Be brave with the ball – take players on
  • Fill the space

You see, they are simple focus points that relate to you having an accomplished game. They should be confined to you (not to anyone else) and they should be mastery based (rather than outcome oriented). 

An hour before kick-off is the time to have your script in front of you. It’s the time to mentally rehearse the script – to create the mental blueprint that you want to recreate come kick off.

To get the full article from Dan Abrahams where he discusses executing the script, mentally warming up during pre-game and becoming the best that you can be, DOWNLOAD AMPLIFIED SOCCER ATHLETE MAGAZINE, Issue 3. 


Dan Abrahams

Dan Abrahams is a global sport psychologist who works alongside some of the leading players, teams, coaches and organisations in the world. He is known for his passion and ability to de-mystify sport psychology, as well as his talent for creating easy to understand and simple to use techniques and performance philosophies. A former professional golfer and PGA golf coach Dan has a First Class Honours degree in psychology and Masters degree in sport psychology. Academically he is visiting lecturer at several universities and he holds registration with the HCPC (meaning he is legally safe to practice as a psychologist). Dan works in all sport but specialises in football/soccer and golf. He is Lead Psychologist for England Golf and he works with players from leading amateur through to Tour players. In football/soccer psychology he is regarded as a leader in the field. He has some of the leading turnaround case studies in Premier League history and he has written two international bestselling books. One of these books, Soccer Tough, has been heralded one of the most important books in football. He currently works with players, teams and organisations across 'Planet Football.' Dan also works in the Corporate Sector delivering his sport psychology techniques and philosophies to individuals and groups.