You prepared for your game day all week and now it is here. Having a pre-game routine is the best method an athlete can use. This will help you develop your abilities and skills to get you ready for the game ahead.
In a previous article, we talked about the things you should focus on while creating a plan for the week leading up to the game. We spoke about finding a “routine” that works best for you and helps you feel ready to perform. The main thing to remember about developing a routine is that it is a process of trial and error to find what works best.
Let’s talk about some ideas and good practices you can try while preparing yourself on the day of your game.
Factors in Game Day Preparations
First, we need to have a basic understanding of what factors might come into play on game day.
- What time of day is the game?
- Where is the game located?
- What will the weather be like at game time?
All these things can impact your ability to feel ready to perform. Early games, long drives, or poor weather can impact the mental and physical preparations of a young athlete.
For early games, try waking up early and get a good stretch in. Or take a cold shower to wake your brain up faster. If you have a long drive, bring healthy snacks and water in the car to keep your energy levels up. A long drive is also a good time to do some mental prep work. Bring along a book you enjoy or maybe watch games or highlights of your favorite player on YouTube to help build confidence.
Late-night games can affect the energy level of athletes if they are not careful during the day hours. Maybe you need to take a nap in the afternoon to help keep your energy high for later. Make sure you are eating healthy and hydrating to keep your body ready for performing. Avoid excess energy activities like swimming or hiking on hot days.
Weather can also be a big issue. Maybe it is going to be extra hot out. Try things like bringing some shade and some cold towels and ice with you to help keep your body temperature stable in the heat. Grab a few extra packets of electrolytes to help deal with dehydration and overheating.
If it is windy, raining, or snowing, you may need extra layers of clothing to keep you warm or dry. Maybe you need to adjust your footwear as well so you are not slipping all over the place in your game.
Try to eat a well-balanced meal about two hours before your game. Balance your meal with healthy carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to make sure you have all your vital minerals and nutrients in your body. Avoid excess sugar and heavy meals.
Drink a lot of water and electrolytes the day before and the day of your game to make sure your hydration levels are ready.
Arriving at the Field
Make sure you are early or on time and in the correct uniform. This is also a good chance to sneak in some meditation, breathwork, or motivation like a favorite pump-up song you might have. If you sat in the car for a while or feel anxious, grab a ball and juggle, or get some touches on the ground by doing some short-range passing with your teammates.
Warmups are a good time to have some short conversations with your teammates to see how everyone is feeling about the game. The warmup is your last chance to make yourself feel as prepared as possible for your game. Always remember that once warmups start, nothing else matters but keeping your focus on the game.
Example of Game Day Routine
Your routine is something that might take time to figure out, but trial and error is the best way of doing so. Over time, you will find a routine for game days regardless of where or when the game is held. Try to keep your game day routine as simple as possible. Below is an example schedule:
- Wake up at 7 am for a cold shower, glass of water, and a stretch
- Do 10 minutes of breathing and visualization work thinking specifically about your strengths as a player
- Eat a pre-game meal 3 hours before kickoff time
- Watch highlight videos on the way to the field to build confidence
- Listen to favorite songs when you get to the field and eat a very small healthy snack with some electrolytes in water about an hour before the game
- Put cleats on and juggle with teammates.
- Warm-up with team
Again, these are all just ideas and good practices for players to start experimenting with on their own. Find what works best for you and continue to look for more ways to increase your readiness to play and overall performance.
Learn More With Blaze!
The secret to mastering any skill is practice! Are you looking to become a stronger player? Could you use direct feedback from a professional coach on how to improve your passing skills, communication, or vision on the field?
At Blayze we give you a personalized coaching session from the very best coaches in the world. For a truly unique and personalized feedback experience, submit your performance video to one of Blayze’s highly qualified coaches. The custom-developed coaching session can help you improve your on-field skills, so you are performing at your very best in every game. One easy click here will take you to more details on our coaching sessions.