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Learning from elite rugby players: How can you be better prepared?

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

As the Six Nations competitions (men’s and women's) take place over the next couple of months, it got us thinking about how elite athletes prepare for big games, especially high impact sports such as rugby where there is a lot of adrenaline involved. Big events in sports are often associated with nerves, excitement, and stress, and this is something that I’m sure you can relate to when you think about big events in your life too. For example, a job interview, an exam, or maybe you play sports too. So, what can we learn from how elite rugby players prepare before their games?

In November 2022 in partnership with Yakult some of the Leicester Tigers 1st XV shared how they mentally prepare on game day. You can take a look at the Instagram post here and watch the video from Leicester Tigers below.

The players who took part shared some interesting ways that they prepare before a game and surprisingly most of them chose something to help them relax. For example, meditation, breath work and even taking a bath!

Think about how you prepare for something important in your life, does it involve something that helps you relax? When we are more relaxed it helps to reduce our stress response and the associated hormone/chemical changes that go alongside feeling stressed. When we feel less stressed, or perceive the stress more positively, we can think more clearly, have better recall information, make more informed decisions, and ultimately perform better whether it's in a sport or life.

So, what do you already do to help you relax before something important, or what could you start doing? If you need some inspiration then you can check out some of our self care blogs like this one on nature as self care. Let us know below and don’t forget to sign up to our blog to keep up to date.


Written by Dr Grace Tidmarsh, Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Teaching Fellow in sport psychology and mental health at The University of Birmingham.

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