9 Tips for Managing Game Day Emotions

Written by Mark Bailey
Last updated on

Picture this: the sun is shining, the field is perfectly groomed, and your little slugger is about to step up to the plate. Game day is here, and with it comes a whirlwind of emotions for both you and your child. Whether it’s excitement, nerves, or a mix of both, managing these feelings is key to ensuring a positive experience for everyone involved. Here are nine tips to help you keep those game day emotions in check.

1. Pre-Game Routine

Establishing a consistent pre-game routine can create a sense of normalcy and calm, reducing pre-game jitters for both you and your child. A predictable routine helps set the tone for the day, making it easier to manage emotions.

Practical Tips: Prepare the night before by packing the game day bag, laying out uniforms, and ensuring all necessary equipment is ready. On game day, make sure your child has a healthy breakfast and some light physical activity, like stretching or a short walk, to burn off excess energy.

2. Positive Visualization

Visualization is a powerful tool to boost confidence and reduce anxiety. Encouraging your child to visualize success can help them feel more prepared and focused.

Practical Tips: Have your child close their eyes and imagine themselves making great plays, feeling confident and enjoying the game. Share your own positive thoughts to model this behavior. Remind them of past successes and the fun they have on the field.

3. Focus on Effort, Not Outcome

Emphasizing effort and improvement over winning or losing can reduce pressure and help your child enjoy the game more. This approach fosters a growth mindset and resilience.

Personal Anecdote: There was a game where my son struck out every time he was at bat, but he hustled on the field and made some great defensive plays. We focused on his effort and improvement in those areas, and it turned out to be a positive experience despite the outcome at the plate.

4. Breathing Techniques

Simple breathing exercises can be incredibly effective in calming nerves and improving focus. Teaching your child these techniques can give them a valuable tool for managing stress.

Practical Tips: Practice deep, slow breaths together at home. Encourage your child to take a few deep breaths before stepping up to bat or when they start to feel overwhelmed. Counting to four while inhaling and then again while exhaling can be a simple and effective method.

5. Stay Hydrated and Well-Fed

Proper nutrition and hydration can have a significant impact on mood and performance. Keeping your child well-fed and hydrated helps them stay focused and energetic.

Practical Tips: Pack healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, and whole grain crackers, and make sure they drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks that can lead to energy crashes and mood swings.

6. Create a Supportive Environment

A positive and supportive environment from family and teammates can boost your child’s confidence and enjoyment of the game. Celebrating effort and good sportsmanship can make a big difference.

Practical Tips: Cheer for your child’s effort and sportsmanship, not just their successes. Encourage teammates with kind words and show appreciation for their efforts too. This supportive atmosphere can help everyone manage their emotions better.

7. Mindfulness and Relaxation

Mindfulness techniques can help your child stay present and focused, reducing anxiety and improving performance. These techniques are easy to practice and can be very effective.

Practical Tips: Practice short mindfulness exercises or guided meditations with your child. Apps and online videos can provide simple guided sessions. Encourage them to focus on their breath or a calming image during stressful moments.

8. Post-Game Decompression

Having a post-game routine to unwind and reflect is just as important as preparing for the game. This helps your child process their emotions and learn from the experience.

Personal Anecdote: After each game, we have a tradition of stopping for ice cream and talking about the game. It’s a great way to unwind, celebrate efforts, and discuss what went well and what could be improved without the heat of the moment.

9. Maintain Perspective

Keeping the bigger picture in mind can help both you and your child stay grounded. Remembering that the ultimate goal is to have fun and learn can alleviate some of the pressure associated with game day.

Practical Tips: Remind your child (and yourself) that it’s just a game. Focus on the joy of playing and the lessons learned, rather than the score. Celebrating small victories and personal growth can help maintain a healthy perspective.


By implementing these tips, you can help your child navigate the emotional highs and lows of game day with confidence and grace. Share your own tips and experiences in the comments below – let’s support each other on this exciting journey of youth baseball!