Playing soccer is a huge mental and physical task, not just for soccer but for most sports. Depending on the game, like a World Cup Final or The Champions League Final, players might be worried or be disturbed, which can lead to performing poorly.
Some soccer players are usually affected by the fear of performing poorly, losing games, or even fear of the team they are up against. Sometimes, soccer players perform poorly because of a lack of confidence or playing badly to impress others.
This is why it is essential that every soccer player prepares for every soccer game. These negative factors which usually affect soccer players can be reduced and even outright removed when a soccer player adequately prepares before playing a soccer game.
Watching the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Messi play games with complete confidence and impressive dexterity are because they have prepared for every game they play.
Every successful player is successful because they have made preparations. Playing and winning games can become a habit when you fully prepare for every game, maybe physically, mentally, psychologically, and others.
Soccer is an intense and competitive game, and if you are not prepared, the possibility of losing to the opponent is high. However, winning games in soccer is the best part and what makes soccer an exciting game.
How to prepare for a soccer game?
Getting ready for a soccer game is what every elite and the top player does. Every soccer game lasts more than 90 minutes. Therefore, if you do not prepare accordingly, you might not be able to perform your utmost.
Preparing physically, technically, practicing, and in other ways before a game ensures that you can perform your best in every game.
Now, how do you prepare for a soccer game? There are various ways that soccer players prepare for a match. It could be physical fitness, technical training, psychological, dieting, training, practicing with teammates, and other means of preparation.
In the following sections, you will be shown various ways that you can prepare for a soccer game.
One way to prepare for a soccer game is to diet or eat foods that are nutritious. The importance of diet to soccer players cannot be overemphasized enough. In addition, dieting before soccer games ensures that you are fit and have the necessary fuel to play the intense soccer game.
Before a soccer game, you need to store enough carbohydrates in your body to ensure that you have the maximum energy.
Though dieting is usually dependent on the type of games and the frequency of playing, there are basic dieting processes that every soccer player can undertake.
One of the ways to diet before a soccer game is to ensure that you take meals rich in carbohydrates since it would help in maintaining your glycogen level. Also, ensure that you do not accept new foods before a game; they can disrupt your system. Instead, drink a lot of water.
Spicy foods, leek, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, cauliflower are not to be taken before match day. Also, ensure that you keep eating foods high in fiber at a minimum.
Fatty foods such as fried foods, pastries, sausages, or fried sauces should be avoided. Also, alcohol and excess drinks high in caffeine should not be taken. To promote digestion, you have to eat and chew your foods calmly.
Another way that soccer players prepare for a soccer game is through fitness training. Training to be fit is critical for every soccer player.
Soccer is a physically demanding game; though you might be talented with good skills, you might lack physical speed and strength.
Soccer is a game of more than 90 minutes, so if you do not prepare yourself to be fit for playing for the entire time, you might end up running on gas about 10 minutes into the game.
When you properly perform fitness training before every soccer game, you will be able to reach your performance at your best and bring out your best in every game.
Fitness training also offers a healthier lifestyle, improves your core strength, increases stamina, increases speed, and also increases resistance to injury.
Below are some fitness training that you can perform to prepare for a soccer game:
1. Warm-up Exercises
One way to prepare for a soccer game is to perform warm-up exercises before every soccer game. Before your game starts, you should bring your equipment to warm up.
Getting a can of water close by is extremely important because you would need to stay hydrated throughout the warm-up process. Ensure that you practice in cleats since you would need to get used to the feeling of playing with cleats.
After your equipment is ready, you can now begin to warm up by running and performing sit-ups, light jogging, and stretches. These warm-up exercises ensure that your muscles are loosened up before the game.
The process of warming up also entails that you practice ball skills. For example, perform light juggling, dribbling, and passing. Performing these would ensure that you work on your coordination, focus, and reaction time.
Also, ensure that you stretch your body muscles. For example, ensure that the ankles, hips, and legs, shoulders, back, and wrists are adequately stretched to have fewer strains and sprains while playing.
2. Perform Strength, Stamina, and Speed Drills
Strength, speed, and stamina are crucial for a soccer player. This is why it is essential that you work on improving these aspects when you prepare for a soccer game.
Performing Interval training is one way to improve stamina, such as stop-and-go exercises. For example, you can perform running drills continuously at various paces. When you change your pace, your endurance improves.
You can also perform some resistance training, such as running on the spots with resistance bands, push-ups, and lunges. These simple exercises also help provide resistance to your muscles.
Strength is also fundamental in soccer, and training to improve your strength in soccer is vital. For example, you could perform simple exercises that would also strengthen your strengths, such as push-ups and squats.
Performing simple drills such as running suicides, making use of agility ladders, and performing high knees, etc., is also essential since they help in conditioning you before every game.
3. Take Sufficient Rests
Taking sufficient rest is necessary for fitness training to prepare for soccer games. You have to ensure that your workout is mixed with intense-pace and slow-pace activities to ensure that your body recovers properly.
Performing fitness training with no rest could lead to some injuries that would affect you in one day.
Matchday preparations usually start about three days before the matchday. It is, therefore, necessary that you have at least two days rest after high-intensity workouts. In addition, it would ensure that you avoid muscle soreness, sprains and help your body recover swiftly.
Soccer is psychological as it is physical. Therefore, while it is necessary that you be physically fit for soccer, it is more important that you are psychologically prepared for every game.
For example, if a team meets top-class teams such as Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, and other top teams in the soccer world, taking a defeated mentality to the game would see that team losing or underperforming.
Anxiety usually affects gameplay and decision-making, especially when you play in big games. You could become disorganized, make simple errors, or even be anxious.
When you are not prepared for a game psychologically, every tactic and strategy taught before the game might be forgotten. It’s always a best practice to train your mind for soccer!
The top or elite soccer teams are capable of playing to the best of their ability, even in big games. They perform exceptionally well while keeping formations and having reasonable ball control while also staying organized. This is what is expected of every player.
How do you prepare psychologically for a game? It is by preparing mentally to be focused and relaxed even while being anxious in big games.
You have to trust your skills since they have brought you far. Play freely and without trying too hard to impress someone. Soccer is a game of fun.
Also, ensure that you set up a routine that instills confidence before every soccer game. Though some coaches usually do this, you could set up a routine for yourself that prepares you for every game. Warm-up mentally by being confident, relaxed, and focused.
Ensure that your focus is not on the results but on the process of playing. When you place your emphasis on results, you might begin to make mistakes and lose focus on having reasonable game control.
Also, when playing games, especially big games, your focus should be on the game and not on your opponents. Making comparisons with your opponents can lead to having a losing mentality since the opponents might be more vigorous.
This is why it is very necessary that you focus on preparing for games and reinforcing your strengths instead of making comparisons that could negatively impact you.
Another way to prepare for a soccer game is to understand the tactics of soccer games. Therefore, it is vital that you know various soccer tactics or strategies commonly used in the age of soccer.
Understanding these strategies ensures that your chances of properly playing the game would increase.
Not just winning games, you would also be able to predict the tactics used by the opponents and therefore adjust yourself properly. Though soccer is a complex game, there are a lot of possibilities that could occur.
You don’t have to only prepare yourself physically and skillfully, but you need to make quick decisions, communicate with teammates, better position yourself, and read the game.
You might be a good passer, shooter, or even a dexterous dribbler, but it would all be for naught if you do not understand soccer tactics or strategies.
Soccer tactics or strategies that need to be understood include having a general understanding of the game, knowing the right time to pass and where to pass, when to dribble, when to shoot, etc.
When preparing for a soccer game, a simple question to ask yourself is how you would respond to certain situations that would come upon the pitch while playing.
Though the aim of soccer is to win by scoring goals, you can set short-term goals that would help your team win the game.
Such goals could be deciding to maintain possession of the ball for your team, winning corner kicks, playing long balls whenever there is space, and maintaining good ball control throughout the game.
Understanding these tactics and strategies as a player would help your team move up in the field and score goals.
Practicing is another way to prepare for a soccer game. Practicing your skills would ensure that you can play perfectly when it’s matchday.
However, you have to set a goal before you begin to practice. It is essential that you know what skills you want to improve and what kind of team you are contending against. When you set goals, you should train with focus and get the most out of practice.
You would be able to practice your weaknesses and strengths that can be used against the opposition.
When practicing in preparation for a game, you need to ensure that you practice your weaknesses like weak foot, ball control, one-touch, shooting accuracy, and passing accuracy.
When you are unsure of your choice, you can seek advice from your coach, who would tell you about techniques or drills that you should improve when practicing.
A common phrase says when you fail to prepare; you prepare to fail. This phrase is applicable to soccer. As soccer players, you have to prepare before every game and not just only big games.
Preparation for games should be regular. Ensure that you prepare based on your individual preference and not on what works for others but on what works for you.
Preparing is vital because you would maintain your top form while playing games and have fewer chances of incurring injuries or sprains.
Preparing for soccer games also improves your performance while playing games. Ensure that you properly research before you prepare for a soccer game.
The habit of preparing for soccer games, when cultivated, ensures that you become successful when playing any game. Though it is a normal phenomenon to be nervous before games, you should be able to turn nervousness into motivation.
Soccer is fun, as seen with players such as Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Messi, and others. They enjoy playing the game even in big games, and so should you too, in order to enjoy the game as much as you have prepared.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!