If there’s a big game or competition around the corner, it’s easy to fall into a blind panic. The countdown is on and there’s so much you need to do in a limited amount of time.
First of all: breathe. Everyone wants to be as prepared as possible, but panicking won’t get you anywhere. You need to stay cool, calm, and collected. Let’s methodically work out exactly what you need to do to bring your A-game on the big day.
If you aren’t already committed to your training schedule, now’s the time to get on track. The few weeks leading up to a big game or competition are the time to make sure you’re performing at your best.
Take some time to figure out where you’re struggling or areas that need the most work. Then you know where to focus the most attention. As well as any team practices, make a schedule of other workouts you think might help. Game practice should be a priority, but see if there’s anything else you can fit in.
Also, remember to throw in some less intense sessions. Take time for a massage or mix it up with some swimming to take the strain off certain areas. You’ll be asking a lot of your body during this time so it’s important to take some care of it. Speaking of which...
This might sound like a contradiction, but don’t go too hard in the run-up to the big day. You might want to increase your training a few weeks before, but don’t push yourself too much during the week of the event. You don’t want to overwork and end up ruining your performance on the day.
A few days before, you want to strip your workouts back enough so that you’re allowing your body to recover, but also keeping it primed and ready for action. Your body will take anywhere from 48 to 96 hours to fully recover. So bear this in mind when planning your final workouts. Avoid anything too strenuous or things that could result in pain or injury.
Try to get plenty of sleep leading up to an event. You don’t want to get to the day feeling sluggish. As little as 20 hours of sleep deprivation has been proven to impact on sports performance, so set yourself some early bedtimes!
Before a big competition, you want your body to have all it needs to carry you through. You’ll need a lot of energy. With this in mind, include some more carbohydrates in your diet. That’s foods like pasta, rice, and potatoes. They’ll build up energy stores your body will burn through during a game.
Put some extra thought into what you’re eating the night before and the day of the event. You want a well-balanced, nutritious, filling meal the night before.
For breakfast on the day, you want to strike the perfect balance between feeling satisfied but not bloated or heavy. Base the size of your breakfast on how early you’ll be performing. The closer it starts, the less time you’ll have to digest.
You want to approach the match or competition feeling positive, prepared, and focused. Everyone will have different methods of getting there, so create a routine that works for you. Whether you have a playlist you like to listen to while you’re getting ready, like to visualise a game the night before, or enjoy some pre-match meditation, find whatever works and establish your routine.
No matter the sport, your competition preparation can help determine whether you come out on top or fail to meet the mark. You want to approach every big game feeling confident about the outcome. Balance full-on training with relaxing downtime, eat well, and establish your very own competition routine.
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