Have you every wondered what you should do to get ready to play your best? My brother and I play a lot of soccer around our house and we’re always thinking about how to play our best. Here are some things we do to gear up.
We both have soccer journals that we keep. Each week we write down different things that we learned in practice or from the last game. We often list stuff we could improve on and read over it on the way to the game so it’s fresh in our minds when we hit the field. We also visualize ourselves doing what we want to do in a game, like step-overs or shooting the ball in the back of the net. Sometimes we write moves on our hands that we want to use in a game.
You won’t see us at McDonalds or sipping a soda that often. What you eat has a lot to do with how you play. We try to eat things that have a lot of protein (eggs, chicken, fish, some veggies) and good carbs (pasta, whole wheat sandwiches etc.) on the night before and on game day. Cliff or Power Bars are usually in the car for some quick fuel. If we want something sweet, we typically do fruit like apples, oranges, or strawberries.
The body is made up of about 70% water. When you play you sweat and lose water. When you lose water, you lose energy and the ability to think clearly. You want to be your best physically and mentally for the game. How much water you have in your system will impact that. We try to start drinking extra water 24 hours before the whistle blows. I (Ethan) have a gallon Gatorade cooler that I carry around and sip on 24 hours before each game. You might think I’m crazy, but I can tell a big difference when I don’t. I usually drink water with ice, but I’ve read that it’s best to drink it room temperature so that your body doesn’t have to use energy to break down the ice.
We try to get to bed at a good time the night before. A minimum of 8-9 hours of sleep is what we shoot for. We’ve played at tournaments where guys stay up late messing around and it always impacts their performance the next day. We’ve learned our lessons. If we want to play well and help the team, we need to get good sleep.
Before the game I (Ethan) am always getting focused by stretching out and juggling. I try to get a lot of quick touches on the ball to quicken my feet. Good players should get 1000 touches on the ball each day. When I arrive, I take a slow jog with the ball around the field to get focussed. After, I do individual drills to prepare myself and then do team warm-ups with the rest of the guys so I’m at 100%. If my feet are sore before the game I will ice and tape them up.