The twenty four hours before a game are crucial for your eighty minutes on-field. Whether for training or match-day, following these five tips can make all the difference.
1. Catch some ZZZs
Hitting the hay early is a no-brainer for game alertness and avoiding injury. Wind down before bedtime by limiting screen or device time, and aim for the optimal eight hours a few nights prior to the big day. Set an alarm to avoid oversleeping – if you’re rubbish at getting out of bed, ask your parents/teammates for a wake-up call!
2. Eat a hearty meal
A dinner packed with protein (meat, eggs, tofu, etc) and carbs (pasta, rice, bread, etc) is a recipe for success on the field. Carbohydrates will assist with the energy demands of the match, while protein will help repair muscles post-game.
3. Drink up
Playing eighty minutes, plus warm ups and cool downs can take it out of you; in Singapore and on tours around South East Asia, it can be disastrous. Hydration is essential for a safe and fun game, so make sure to drink plenty of water the day and night before, as well as an electrolyte drink to replenish once the whistle’s blown.
4. Prep your bag – the night before!
If you tend to be a bit “blur” in the mornings, the last thing you need to be worrying about before a game is forgetting something. Write a list, and get everything ready the night before: game shirt, shorts and socks can be laid out ready to go. Headgear, mouthguard, boots, sunscreen, a hat, towel and a change of clothes? They can go into the kit bag! Don’t forget snacks (gummie bears are great for extra energy before and during the game) plus plenty of water.
5. Get in the zone
On the way there, take some time out and start visualising your game. Remember what your role on the field will be and what your team needs from you. Mentally revise team calls and the moves you’ve been practising in training: you’ll be surprised at how easily these will come back to you in a game, and may be the difference between a loss or a win.