A good pre-game routine is vital to playing a good soccer game. Unfortunately, many players don't know what they need to do, or they neglect to develop a good routine. Both mental and physical pre-game rituals are necessary to help you play your best.
Here are some of the tips and tactics our technical coaches use to keep soccer boarding school students in top shape.
Soccer boarding school tip: The night before
Pre-game preparation starts the day before a game. In Europe, they call this “concentration” and professional teams will often hole up together as a team in a hotel away from wives, girlfriends and children to “concentrate” on the match. You should go to bed early the evening before a game in order to ensure you get plenty of rest. If our soccer boarding school players have a 2 p.m. game start, then their sleep curfew is 9:30 p.m. the night before. Don't overlook this important part of pre-game prep.
Organization is also important for serious soccer players. Make sure that you have all of your soccer equipment set out and ready to go before you go to bed and that your boots are clean and polished. You'll save yourself time in the morning, be more relaxed, and you won't have to worry about forgetting anything.
Soccer boarding school tip: Watch what you eat
The food and drinks you put into your body in the hours before the match will affect both your energy level and your performance. Our soccer boarding school students follow specific diet guidelines before the games:
- Steer clear of caffeine or carbonated beverages.
- Choose sports drinks carefully, as they can contain a lot of sugar. Though sugar can give you an instant energy boost, you'll crash later.
- Make sure you're fully hydrated before the game by drinking plenty of water. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water.
- Avoid sugary or salty snacks before practice or a game. This includes sunflower seeds and other nuts.
- The best pre-game snacks are fruits. High energy, without the crash.
- Your pre-game meal should be high in starches, including pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread. If you're eating meat, go with lean proteins like turkey or chicken rather than red meat.
- Avoid fried foods before a game.
- While you shouldn't feel uncomfortably hungry at game time, your stomach should be mostly empty. Give yourself plenty of time to digest.
These tips and tactics give our soccer boarding school students an edge before they ever hit the pitch. Stay tuned for our next article on pre-game warm-up and mental preparation techniques.
Take some time to develop a good pre-game routine for yourself, so you can give a pro performance in your next match!