Preparing for your upcoming sports match is just as important as the training you do for it, months in advance. Match preparation increases the chances of optimising your match performance. This can take a few days to do and includes eating the right foods and being well rested. Here are some tips and steps you can take that should significantly improve your chances of winning your match.
Fuel your body with the right macros
It is important that you fuel your body with the right macros at least three days prior to your match. You should make sure to consume quality carbohydrates to make sure that it is well fuelled. According to Rugby Player and World Cup Champion Josh Lewsey, “Players are advised to increase their carbohydrate intake in the days leading up to a game to ensure that they have recovered from the training week and have adequate energy stores ready for the match ahead”. Make sure that your last dinner before your match has slow release carbs. You can get slow release carbs from foods such as vegetables, oats, fruits, pulses, and brown rice.
Recharge your energy
Resting the day before your match will increase your energy for the day of the match. When using your body’s energy through excessive training the day before could eventually lead to a lower level of energy on match day. However, you can still do some low-intensity workouts that will not tire your muscles or reduce your energy stores, making you ready for the match. On the day of your match you should rest with your feet up for at least an hour to replenish your energy stores. Find yourself a quiet corner and try to relax when it comes close to kick off.
Dan Garner, who is the head coach of the Hockey Training programme, based in Ontario spoke with Betway earlier this month and said: “I consider it a tripod of performance – physical, mental and emotional”. Garner who has also coached UFC champions Ronda Rousey and Michael Bisping, as well as three Super Bowl winners and an Olympic gold medallist, continues: “What happens if one leg of a tripod is knocked out? It collapses. In order to determine whether someone is actually ready, they would need to be mentally, emotionally and physically ready.”
Eat a well-balanced breakfast
Be sure to eat a well-balanced breakfast on match day. Eat foods that you have tried before and that you know. Today is not the day to be experimenting with new recipes or ingredients. You want to make sure that your gut knows what its digesting just in the off chance it doesn’t agree with you. Focus on foods that have complex carbs for energy and protein to keep you satisfied along with healthy fats. Some breakfasts to consider include, oatmeal, breakfast burritos, eggs, avocado and yoghurt. Even if your match starts in the evening, it is still important to have a good breakfast.
Bring a snack with you
Everybody is different, some people even find that playing on an empty stomach improves their match performance. Nevertheless, when you play on an empty stomach, you may run the risk of burning “valuable energy sources and have less stamina” says fitness instructor, Kay Ireland. She continues by saying that “Low blood sugar levels may also leave you feeling lightheaded, nauseous, or shaky”. The best way to tackle this risk is to bring a small snack with you to the match. A snack that has both calories and carbohydrates will help you replaced your burned energy. Light snacks such as fruits, crackers and yoghurt are ideal.
Staying hydrated while you are playing is vital. You must drink plenty of water as you play, otherwise you may run the risk of becoming dehydrated which could lead to sudden fatigue and a decline in your performance. You will lose water as you play through sweating, thus drinking water every 10 or so minutes while you are playing is recommended.