What does it mean to put your game face on?
When an athlete puts their game face on, they show a level of focus, determination, confidence, and intensity that sends the message that they are ready to perform at the highest level and they are there to win. This involves a set of concrete actions that convey a sense of confidence and determination. These actions can be as simple as keeping your head up and your shoulders back. For some it means having a serious, intense look on their face, and for others it means smiling. It’s all about what works best for you, and by consistently putting your game face on in performance situations, you improve your ability to look cool, calm, and collected, even in the most high-pressure moments.
Putting your game face on
Putting your game face on is an effective strategy in a variety of performance situations, from sports to exams to job interviews. When you step onto the field looking self-assured, demonstrating a sense of calm, focused energy, you set the stage to perform at your best, and your opponents will notice. Not only can it can serve as a way to convince others that you are confident and prepared, it can actually help to convince yourself that you are ready to play. When we act confident, we feel more confident. When you are feeling tired, anxious, or insecure about your performance, make sure to put your game face on. Over time, taking those steps to act confident and energized will create positive feelings and help to produce the desired result of enhancing your performance.
Setting your game face aside
I’ve worked with many athletes who have their game face on all the time, and when it becomes their only way of coping, it can be problematic. Athletes who always have their game face on often push through difficult situations without acknowledging feeling stressed. They don’t talk about what’s bothering them, they power through, acting like everything is going well even if they feel like it’s not. Even when they have a free moment, they keep their game face on, taking little time to relax or reflect. While it’s helpful to have your game face on in performance and training situations, it’s important to have a wide variety of strategies for coping with emotions aside from keeping your head up, smiling and pushing through your busy schedule; that's why it's called your game face and not your all day everyday face. Make time to take care of yourself, engage in relaxing activities, do things you enjoy, and have people that you can talk to, whether friends, family, coaches, and/or a psychologist.