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The Power of Musical Intention

The Power of Intention

The Power of Intention refers to the focused and purposeful mental state athletes cultivate to achieve their goals.  Athletes often create mental images of success, set clear intentions for their performance, and use music to inspire them to be the best version of themselves in competition and when they train.

Music as Motivation and Focus

Music has the ability to influence mood, motivation, and focus.  Many athletes use music as part of their pre-game routine to enhance arousal levels or get into the right mindset.  The tempo, rhythm, and lyrics of the music can impact energy levels and help athletes maintain focus during training and competition. Whether you need pumping up or calming down, listening to music before practice and competition can help set the tone. 

Here are some examples of how music can enhance mood:

“Pump up the jam”

Music with faster / up tempo beats and intensity can elicit faster reaction speed, strength, and excitement. 

“Mellow, that’s my style”

Calming music with slower beats and tranquil sounds can help slow things down to relax the body, and reduce nerves and anxiety. 

“Variety is the spice of life”

Having both calming and upbeat music gives you options. There are times when you need one or the other before competition and practice.


“Hurry up and wait!”

With sports like swimming, equestrian, taekwondo and fencing, there are a lot of hurry up and wait moments during competition. So, it’s good to have music to relax you during the downtime and music to get you ready to compete.  Listening to music helps keep you present focused and feeling the beat versus over-analyzing and over-thinking. 


"Sports without music, it’s nothing but a game. Music adds the emotion."

-Ice Cube

1. Emotional Response

Music can pump you up or calm you down.  Pick the music that gets you in the right groove. This includes songs with emotional significance, like songs that remind you of special moments, i.e., songs that remind you of competitions or practices where you performed really well.  Songs with emotional significance can also remind you of happy memories like being on vacation or laughing with teammates traveling to a competition. Sometimes we just need an escape from the moment to lighten the mood. 

Positivity and confidence are keys to being ready and performing well. Positive thinking and confidence play crucial roles in athletic performance.  Optimistic athletes tend to handle pressure better and recover more effectively from setbacks.  Confidence is often built through successful experiences, positive self-talk, and a strong support system. When you are happy and motivated, it’s easier to ignore the feelings of fatigue, pain, nervousness, and anxiety. 


"Just like music, sports elevate us to new levels of achievement." 

- Randy Castillo

2. Playlists

Music is one way of unlocking focus, controlling mood, building confidence, and being motivated to compete.  Athletes can use music as part of their pre-game routine, to enhance arousal levels, and get into the right mindset.  The tempo, rhythm, and lyrics of the music can impact energy levels and help athletes maintain focus during training and competition.

Playlists are a great way to have your relaxation and motivational songs at your ready.  One list can be your mellow list, one can be your pump up mix, and one can be a relax and chill list.  Create your playlists on your phone or via audio streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. 

Get creative by making playlists for specifics moments like warm up, between rounds / games, and right before competition. 

Here are some examples:

a. Warm up mix (i.e., 30-60 min)

b. Downtime mix between rounds (i.e., 1-2hrs)

c. Ready to go mix, right before competition (i.e., 5-7 min)

The best part of having playlists are that you can press shuffle and have it randomly play a song or you can just listen to that go to song of the day. 


 “Music is an outburst of the soul.”

-Fredrick Delius 

3.  Highlight Videos

Highlight videos or pump-up videos are a way of getting focused and motivated before competition and practice. Highlight videos with music are a popular tool for athletes to relive and celebrate their successes.  Watching highlights can boost confidence, motivation, and serve as a reminder of the athlete's capabilities. The music choice in these videos often complements the emotional tone of the highlights. When done right, a pump-up video serves as your positive affirmation video. 

Pump-up videos should highlight your strengths (what you are good at), how hard you have worked to improve (process goals), what you are working toward (long term goals), how you’ve overcome challenges (resilience), who you draw inspiration from (character), and what you are thankful for each day (gratitude).  With software like iMovie it’s easy to create a pump-up video on your phone, tablet, or computer. 

Tips for creating your personal pump-up video: 

a. Find images of confidence, positivity, and fearless performance. This can include images of you, of other people, or things like symbols and animals. Include images of specific actions, like sinking a free throw, and images of what success looks like to you. 

b. Video clips, find video clips of moments that inspire and where you personally performed well. 

c. Add your favorite quotes and team mottos. Pick out music from your personal playlist to match the images, videos and quotes. 

d. Have the music and message of your pump-up video build up.  It should start off slow then build, raising your heart rate and peaking at the end.

*Your motivation and expectations will change over time. The great thing about video software is that you can save and change up the content whenever you want.  So remember to keep the content fresh and relevant, and make the pump-up video a part of your regular pre-competition and practice routine!  Essentially, it’s a reminder to compete and have fun!

Check out these motivational videos:

Motivational music - limitless

Women’s World Cup 19


"Music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."

-Bob Marley

4.  Focused Mind

Music is one way of unlocking focus, controlling mood, building confidence, and being motivated to compete. Here are some of the ingredients within songs that help to motivate and build confidence before practice and competition:

a.  Rhythm, music with a steady, strong, and energizing pulse and beat. 

b.  Tempo, the beat in the music should match the tempo in your sport, like a certain pace of a distance runner.

c.  Muscle Memory, lyrics that relate to movement like Salt ‘n Peppers song “Push it,” help to build muscle memory.  If your brain can imagine it, it will help you physically do it. 

d.  Mood Enhancer, uplifting melodies and harmony.  Pick songs that elicit the positive responses you want in sport, like never give up and play harder. Even animals are able to synchronize to music beats. So pick the music that inspires you to perform, stay positive, and motivated!  


In the end, incorporating these psychological aspects into training and competition can contribute to improved performance and overall well-being. If you feel like you need extra support, contact us at Epic Sport Mindset so we can help you tailor these strategies to fit your individual needs and goals!

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