The purpose of this research was to develop and evaluate a 5-min structured mental warm-up involving aspects of goal setting, imagery, arousal regulation, and positive self-talk. Results of a study that featured a pretest–posttest design with 101 male youth soccer players (Study 1) and a study that featured a repeated-measures experimental design with 29 female intercollegiate soccer players (Study 2) indicated that executing the mental warm-up was associated with significantly greater readiness to perform and to use mental skills to enhance performance. In Study 3, 30 male high school soccer players used the mental warm-up daily over a competitive season and rated it as acceptable (albeit less so than their physical warm-up) at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the season. The findings suggest that a mental warm-up is both acceptable to athletes and potentially useful in helping them prepare for training and competition.
Brewer, Haznadar, Katz, and Petitpas are with the Dept. of Psychology, Springfield College, Springfield, MA. Van Raalte is with Wuhan Sports University, Wuhan, China.