As a soccer player, it’s all about game day and more specifically, what to do before a game. You’ve probably wondered what is the best way to prepare for your games, either the day before or the day of the game. Your preparation routines may change over time, but there are some general principles you can follow to set yourself up for success.
- It’s important to remember that the real preparation before a soccer game happens in the weeks before it. You can’t cram for a soccer game. You can, however, do some things the day before or morning of your game to feel prepared and confident. Take your soccer ball out and do some of the Techne Living Room Training, or whatever you enjoy that makes you feel ready and confident by touching the ball.
- Get a good night’s sleep, not just the night before but in the days leading up to the game, and in general as well. 8-9 hours is ideal, but if you don’t get enough at night, try to take a nap during the day to make up for it.
- Eat and hydrate well. It’s important to fuel your body properly and not just on the day of the game. During the day before and day of, be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat well. Eating well both means making healthy choices but also eating enough. A common mistake soccer players make is not consuming enough food or liquids prior to playing. If you have an early game, this may mean waking up earlier to get in a good meal. Check out our nutrition guide for soccer players where we share some tips and pre-game meals that the pros rely on.
- Pack your bag. Showing up prepared for the game also means you have with you everything necessary for success. In your soccer bag, always have plenty of water, some snacks, your various jerseys, footwear options, warm enough clothing, and a change of clothes for after the game. Staying warm and dry is important to protect your muscles and overall health.
- Leave plenty of time to get to your game. We’ve all been stuck in traffic or running late, and on game day, that just adds unnecessary stress. Check the traffic in advance, or ask your parent/caregiver to do so. Leave plenty of time just in case, so you can show up nice and early and approach your game in a relaxed way. If you’re getting a ride from a parent or someone else, ask them if you can leave a bit of extra time to get there early.
- Visualize. The night before and morning of a game are great times to visualize your performance. If you’re not driving, the car ride to the game is also a great time for this. You can use our Techne Mental Training, or create your own visualization routine. Like anything, visualization takes practice to get good at, but once you master the skill, it can be hugely effective in boosting performance. The key is to picture yourself in as much detail as possible and see yourself succeeding and feeling great about your performance!
- Know your competitive energy. Every soccer player is different. Some get very nervous before games, and others seem to naturally be more relaxed. Some players need to get pumped up and dance around while listening to loud music, while others need to stay cool and calm. Learn what’s best for YOU. Listen to music that makes you feel inspired before you play, and whether you need to get pumped up or calmed down, be aware of how best to manage your competitive energy.
Regardless of your level of play, you will likely have--or have already played--hundreds of games. Understanding that you can prepare yourself in a number of ways for those competitions is very empowering, and a vital part of your soccer experience as well.