Football Pre Match Routine - Home Games

Football players have a routine that they use before games to prepare themselves for action and I was no exception. Away game Football match preparations (Gambling, Pornography, Tabloid Newspapers, Greasy Cafes and Hardcore Football Fans) are always slightly different to home game Football match preparations due to the lack of Travel.

My pre-match routine would be similar to the following :

  • Preparation for a game would always start the night before the game. Physcologically I would start to think about the game and also prepare my nutrition for the match. There is a well known technique called Visualization which many top athletes practice. It involves imagining the upcoming event or in more complete terms. Visualization is the process of creating a mental image or intention, of what you want to happen or to feel. An athlete can use this technique to 'intend' an outcome of a race, training session or simply rest in a feeling of calm and well-being. By imagining a scene, complete with images or movies, of a previous best performance or a new desired outcome, the athlete will simply 'step into' that feeling. It is a common technique and proven to be very successful for many top athletes.

  • I would have a regular meal the night before the game and would always take a Carbohydrate Drink to boost my bodies Carbohydrate levels ensuring I was as ready for the game as I possibly could be.

  • If I was carrying an injury or feeling stiff I would do some stretches to help relieve tension in my muscles or perhaps go for a short walk in the evening.

  • I would stay in bed until 9 or 10am the morning of the game. The day of the game is always a bit dull for a player until you actually arrive at the stadium. I always found myself looking forward to the start of the game and getting very excited but you have to wait several hours and so a routine helps to keep your mind off the wait and to reduce the level of tension. I would do alot of pacing around in anticipation of the upcoming football match.

  • Breakfast would always be a bowl of cereal. I would drink lots of water on the morning of the game, maybe 3 or 4 pints spaced out over the course of the morning.

  • Lunch would normally be Beans on toast. I found this to be a light meal that would not "lay" too heavy on my stomach for the game. I would not eat anything after 12pm, apart from a Banana before the match if I felt a bit hungry.

  • I would leave for the stadium with my kit bag and a High Energy Drink, plus a Banana for half time.

  • Arrival at the stadium was always greeted by fans looking for autographs and wishing you well for the match. It is always a much different experience arriving for a home game compared to an away match, as you would be greeted by fans from your team rather than opposition fans.

  • Once at the stadium the players would report to the dressing room and spend the next half an hour or so sitting around waiting for the managers team talk, typically at 2pm.

  • Most managers would announce their team at 2pm, although the players would have a very good idea about the side due to the training session from the day before. If there were going to be any changes the manager would go through them in that training session.

  • Usually in the dressing room would be a board or chart with a selection of set-plays, such as free-kicks and corners (both for and against) designating who would be standing where and which player was your responsibility. As one of the taller players I always found myself marking one of the bigger players in the opposition, which could mean defending against a very large centre half. This always irked me as not only would I have all my attacking responsibilities but due to my size I was useful as a defender when required, whereas my strike partners would quite often get to have a rest on the half way line.

  • After the team announcement we would be free to prepare for the game. Get changed into the kit and then head out onto the field for the pre-match warm up.

  • We would always do alot of running and stretching before the game. It is essential to get your body "revved" up for the game so some long runs to get the lungs and heart pumping were normal. After this I would try to get as many touches of the ball as possible on the field so that I was as ready as I could be.

  • The pre-match warm up could last anything from 15 minutes to 25 minutes and then we would all return to the dressing room for the final team meeting and lots of "geeing" each other up by the Manager, Assistant Manager and Coach. After a bout of chest thumping and back slapping we were ready to go..

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