Rodrigo’s Pre-Game Routine
Rodrigo’s pregame routine consists of mental, physical, and nutritional preparation.
Before we get into this article I just want to mention that this is my personal pre-game routine and that just because it works for me, it’s going to work for you. Everybody is different in how they prepare for a game and what routines work for them. This is just an insight on the stuff I do from start to finish before a game.
Preparation does not start the day before, yet, the week before.
Most of the time, I have games on either Saturday or Sunday. For this case, I am going to say I have a game on Sunday.
Rodrigo’s Pre-Game Routine
Monday to Sunday
- Hydration – I aim to drink 3-5 liters of water every day. I bring my water bottle almost everywhere I go and ensure I am properly hydrated. For more information on this topic, visit my article by clicking here!
- Follow a proper diet and have 1-2 cheat meals in total. I am very strict on my diet the week before the game as the finest details build up and equal a major impact on performance.
- Use recovery methods such as foam rolling, stretching, taking ice-baths, and all the other common methods. Crucial after an intense individual or team session.
- Sleep 8-10 hours! Sleep is super important for increased energy due to high glycogen and glucose levels.
These are things that are a staple in my routine and even if I did not have a game that week, I would be sure to follow them anyway!
The Day Before
I wake up early to conduct a light session focused around getting small touches on the ball and getting the blood flowing for the big game tomorrow. There is no need to make yourself fatigued for the upcoming game the next day, which means this session is at a low-intensity and there are no heavy gym sessions. Usually, this session is just juggling or just whatever I feel like on the day.
Setting goals is also something I do the day before a game, particularly as it gives me something to aim at. It can be anything from keeping a clean-sheet, to having a 90% pass completion or more, or as simple as doing a particular skill-move during the match.
I make sure to eat a dinner with high quantities of carbohydrates and protein, preferably a pasta of some sort with rice and some pieces of whole-wheat bread.
During this day, I do not want to do any vigorous activity or anything that will make me feel sore the following day. It’s important my body feels fresh and ready to perform.
Near the evening of the day prior to game-day, I relax and visualize exactly what I need to do the next day. I imagine the pitch we are playing at, the color of our jersey, the technique of my passing; everything. Visualization has a powerful effect on performance and gets me into that state of confidence and of being poised for the match.
I make sure to go to bed a little earlier than usual just because I would wake up earlier the next day.
6:00 am – I like to wake-up and immediately go for a cold shower to wake me up and get that adrenaline going. A cold shower sets me up and gets me into that game-day, energetic mood.
6:20 am – I like to visualize, analyze professional games around Europe, or just listen to my favorite music and relax during the morning hours. This gets me into the focused state right away in the morning.
7:00 am – Morning walk. Gets the blood flowing and allows my thoughts to flow as the tranquility of the environment is calming. I’m always sure to bring that water-bottle!
8:00 am – Breakfast time. Usually, something extremely light if kickoff is early and something decently well-made if kick-off is in the afternoon. I always make sure my breakfast is something I’m familiar with. This is so I can avoid stomach aches that can come when trying something new.
Depending if kick-off is in the afternoon or in the morning, this morning routine for game-day could change and I could skip on some of these if the game is too early. It also depends on how I’m feeling in the morning and if I think I could use some extra rest.
If kickoff is in the afternoon, I usually kick the ball around and juggle and get some touches just like the day before. I might do some muscle activation and some stretching before the game.
Right before I’m about to head out, I grab a piece of fruit to eat on the way. I always ensure to eat 2-3 hours before kickoff just so my digestive system has time to, well, digest food. Sometimes having a light, a healthy snack can boost energy levels just a bit more right before kick-off.
That’s about it really. My preparation is all about getting myself ready right from the start of the day. Having good rest and getting good nutrients while focusing on the upcoming task really enhances my performances.
When the performance does not go according to plan, that’s where I analyze what went wrong in the preparation. If I feel nothing went wrong, then there is something wrong with my performance during the game.
Is Pre-Game Important?
Preparation may seem like one of those things you can get away with. In reality, it’s far from it. It can ultimately be the difference between a great start to the game or a dreadful one. It might even affect your whole game.
That’s why I take my preparation seriously. Every little boost is necessary for a great performance. Every detail builds up into a greater cause.
Games are lost at any moment. Those moments could be the effects of little details building on each other forming a greater cause. Such an easy boost like preparation shouldn’t be underlooked.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” … -Benjamin Franklin
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Let me know what your pre-game routine looks like down in the comments!