Preparing for any sport or competition can be an intense experience. Players must prepare themselves mentally and physically to be at their best when the big day arrives. In a contact sport such as football being prepared is essential, not just to ensure you’re performing at your full potential but also to avoid unnecessary injuries. While everyone’s personal training regimen is unique, here are a few tips to help you prepare your body in the weeks, days and hours leading up to a football game.
Get Into Shape
Football is not a sport that can be mastered the night before. It takes weeks of training to ensure your body and mind are prepared to operate at peak performance. If you aren’t already, start following a strict exercise routine to improve your fitness and endurance. A single football game can be physically exhausting; playing a game every week for an entire season requires stamina.
As part of your training routine, plan and stick to a healthy diet. Drink plenty of water and monitor your carbohydrate and protein intake. Carbohydrates help the body produce energy while protein contributes to bone and muscle development. Eating junk food on game-day can lead to an energy crash, but an unhealthy diet also makes it more difficult to train and exercise.
Prepare your mind as well as your body. Talk to your coach or teammates to familiarize yourself with the team’s plays and strategies. This helps ensure you’re not confused during a game and allows you to positively contribute.
Ready Your Equipment
In a contact sport like football, preparing your equipment is just as important as preparing your body. Before game day familiarize yourself with everything from your helmet to your cleats. Training in your gear will make it more comfortable on the big day and make it easier for you to feel when something is broken or improperly fastened. Wear all protective equipment and double check it is secure before you hit the field.
With 24 hours or less before the football game, it’s important to make sure you’re energized and well-rested. Eat a healthy meal a few hours before going to sleep and make sure you give yourself enough time for a full night’s rest. It’s also a good idea to set out all your equipment the night before so you don’t forget anything when you leave the next day. Set aside water bottles and any other high-energy snacks you might need throughout the day.
As the game approaches, get yourself in the right physical and mental space. Stretch your muscles to prevent injury during play and focus yourself on the game ahead. As long as you’ve done everything possible up to this moment, no matter what happens during the game, you can be satisfied that you tried your best!
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