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Game and practice preparation - Introduction

Itís surprisingly hard to get completely organized to do your best all the time. So, what do you do before your games?

Take the ďPrep TestĒ below:

Figure 1 Prep test

  Always  Sometimes Never
You pack all your own gear      
You pack your own snack      
You fill and pack your own water      
You are in charge of timing departure for the game      
You are ready before your parents      
You make sure you have all the things on your packing list      
       
Score 10 for each Always, 5 for each Sometimes, and 1 for each Never      
       
50-60 - you are doing well      
30-50 - room for improvement      
6-30 - you need to take charge of this!      

How did you do on the prep test? For most of us, preparation means grabbing your gear, stuffing it in a bag and running out the door Ė sometimes itís yelling at mom or dad to get the gear. You can do a lot better with a few simple strategies. And I promise, better preparation means better soccer and better results.

Get rested

You canít play if you are not well rested. Physically, if you have not rested enough to recover from previous activity, your body will retain lactic acid that which reduces your speed, strength, and stamina.

Rule of thumb is that kids need about 10 hours of sleep to be completely rested.

Get fueled

You need to eat a complete meal a couple of hours before a game or practice. If thatís not possible, you need to make sure you have a good snack with you to eat a few minutes before the event. Not sugary, plenty of easy to digest carbohydrates. A cereal or energy bar is ideal. (see Nutrition for more on this)

Get hydrated

You need to be well hydrated before you even show up at the event. And keep drinking every chance you get.

Water is good, itís possible that Gatorade or another drink that replenishes minerals and salts that get sweated out of you would be even better. Do not use energy drinks. NEVER drink sodas before a game or practice.

Get organized

It is hard to do your best if you show up late, without all the proper gear, carrying a bag full of stuff that you still need to put on.

One way to avoid that is to have a pre-game ritual. Many professional players like to exactly the same thing every game day Ė get up at the same time, eat the same food, travel to the game at the same time, warm up the same etc. etc.

That may not be entirely possible for you Ė youíre not a pro yet! But you can still have a pre-game ritual. You can know what you should be doing when Ė for example, eating a meal 2 hours before the game, getting your gear and water together 1 Ĺ hours before, completing your checklist (see below), then arriving at the game site 1 hour before the game, and warming up the same way every time.

All that tells your body and your mind ďitís time to go!Ē and you will be more prepared to play your best.

Some kids find it easy to be organized, others donít, and everyone has their own way of doing it.

Below is a check list of what you need to bring to the event. You may want to Xerox this so you can just put it next to your gear as you get ready. You probably want to stuff this list in your bag, especially if you fill in the phone numbers at the bottom.

And you may also want to add your personal stuff to the list.

 

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Contact: rgaster@north-atlantic.com