5 Keys to Creating a Confidence-Building & Game-Winning Routine

Leadership Lessons from the Locker Room: Pre-Game

in Oct 25, 2019

“Never walk under a ladder.” “If you spill salt, throw a pinch of salt over your left shoulder.” To this day, I’ve never walked under a ladder and if you walk into my mom’s kitchen you’ll definitely find salt on the floor. These superstitions have turned into routine procedures for millions of people, but they can actually teach us a lot about leadership. In this post, we’ll dive into 5 ways you can create confidence-building pre-game routines to help get a win in any situation.

Deep down we know superstitions are silly and have no direct effect on the outcome of our lives. However, that doesn’t stop us from having salty floors and feeling a bit uneasy if we don’t knock on wood. Superstitions are even more prevalent in the sports world. Rafael Nadal arranges his water bottles facing the same way between every changeover. Wade Boggs would eat the same chicken dinner before every game he played. As a former athlete and current coach, I am not free from this either. Before every game in high school I would drink a red Gatorade. And it had to be red.

In a world where so much is out of our control, we attempt to create a sense of control by creating routines or adhering to good luck superstitions. That control, even over small things, gives us peace of mind which can lead to increased confidence. You see, I can’t control if my team is going to win. I can’t control if I’m going to hit five 3’s. I can’t control if someone is going to like or hate my keynote speech on leadership. What I can control though, is whether or not I drink my red Gatorade.

In a world where so much is out of our control, we attempt to create a sense of control by creating routines or adhering to good luck superstitions.

Research shows that activating good-luck superstitions or having pre-game routines can improve performance. However, there is a difference between superstitions and pre-game routines. Superstitions are based on luck and pre-game routines are based on science and what works.

Whether you’re an athlete, a fan, or actually don’t like sports at all, we all can grow in our leadership by creating pre-game routines. Whether your game is an actual competition, your work, your family time, or whatever, creating routines that work for us will increase our confidence. This increase in confidence is going to lead to better results. So, how do we do that?

5 Keys to Creating a Confidence-Building Routine

Do What Works for You

If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my leadership journey, it’s what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. I may listen to upbeat music to get ready; you may listen to slow music to calm you. You may need to be hyped up, I may need to drink another red Gatorade. Setting your routine is a bit of an art and a science. Do what feels right and is best for you.

Stick with Your Routine

Depending on the research, it takes anywhere from 21 days to 66 days to form a habit. Regardless, setting your new routine won’t happen overnight. However, once you’ve set it, it’s going to be so worth it! Once you find what works for you, commit to it and stick with it!

Pump Yourself Up with Self-Talk

Driven people tend to be harder on themselves than anyone else ever would. Stop being so hard on yourself and remind yourself of all the great qualities you possess. Get really good at pumping yourself up during your routine. Be your own biggest fan. It starts here!

Be Proactive with Confidence

Take full control of your confidence level before you start something. If you don’t start your confidence early, when you need to draw on it nothing will be there. Visualize yourself succeeding. I’ve literally never missed a shot in my head.

Remember that People Matter

We all have people in our lives who bring us up and others who pull us down. Find consistent time with the people who build you up, care about the details of your life and allow you to truly be yourself.

Interested in reading more about how to unleash your inner champion? Check out 9 Strategies to Help Us Excel in High Pressure Playoff Moments.

Scott Cornelius
Senior Vice President of Leadership Services at | + posts

Scott currently serves as Senior Vice President of Leadership Services at TEAMTRI. As someone who loves to travel, he strives to live his life viewing every person, place and experience as an opportunity to grow as a person and leader. He is committed to helping others do the same by developing their own "leadership lens" to see themselves and others correctly.

Written Scott Cornelius

Scott currently serves as Senior Vice President of Leadership Services at TEAMTRI. As someone who loves to travel, he strives to live his life viewing every person, place and experience as an opportunity to grow as a person and leader. He is committed to helping others do the same by developing their own "leadership lens" to see themselves and others correctly.