Soccer training and mentally preparing yourself, are the two most important things before any match/game!
However, there is one thing that is disregarded by most players. This can often be the difference between having that energy to make runs or to have a solid first touch in the last few minutes of a game.
So, I guess you're wondering what that ‘thing' is I'm referring to ...
I'm Talking About Nutrition!
What you put in your body is extremely important. That is where you get your energy from, and if you are eating junk food or not eating at all you are seriously diminishing your ability to play at your highest level.
The key is to know what to put in your body and when you should be eating/drinking before intense training or matches/games.
Take it from me, playing with an empty stomach, or even a full stomach is not the way to go at all. I’ve experienced both! When I played with an empty stomach (Not consuming anything before the match/game) I had no energy, so I would find myself being tired very quickly. When I played with a full stomach (Consuming a heavy meal less than 2 hours from the match/game) I felt slow and heavy.
I have a really funny story to tell...but first, as a little disclaimer to all the athletes out there *THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN EVERY-TIME*, so please do not do this and expect the same to happen for you! So here we go, I was 13 and I had a game for my travel team at the crack of dawn at 8:00 AM. I woke up a little late and didn't eat any breakfast. A HORRIBLE idea which is why I highly suggest you not do this, and instead take care of your body the right way, every single day!
So my Mom and I are rushing to go to my game, and we stop at Starbucks really quickly on the way. I drink a Caramel Frappuccino literally like 10 minutes before I start warming up which is a bad thing to do. Somehow someway I ended up playing one of the best games of my season getting two goals and an assist.
Isn't That Kind Of Impressive?
All in all, that is a terrible thing to do. I highly advise everybody reading to never do such a terrible thing. Who knows maybe if I would have eaten a good nutritious meal I could've scored a hat-trick. I guess we will never know.
Nevertheless, over the years of me playing soccer/football, I learned what to eat and when to eat before a game. I am going to share those tips with you! If you do all of these tips while staying mentally and physically prepared you will be ready to display all the hard work you have done!
What Should You Be Putting In Your Body?
The nutrients to key in on are carbohydrates, and protein. Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. These are often found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and milk products.
Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue and can also serve as a fuel source. Things that have a lot of protein are chicken, fish, milk, and meats.
The principles a player should follow highly depend on what time the game is. It is commonly thought that the pre-game meal should be eaten 2-4 hours before for the best results.
However, if the game is in the morning let’s say 8:00 AM the dinner the night before becomes more important. That dinner should be high in carbohydrates. Food like pasta or chicken and rice is a great meal to have the night before. However, breakfasts become the most important meal in this case.
It’s very unrealistic to wake up at 6:00 AM to eat before an 8:00 game. Since there isn’t much time to digest the food it should be light and focused on carbohydrates. Something like yogurt, or oatmeal is a very good idea.
If the game is in the afternoon time, that 2-4 hour period becomes a lot more realistic. Once again it should be focused on carbohydrates ;). There are so many meal combinations out there with carbohydrates, but I’ll give you a couple more just for reference. A turkey/ham and cheese sandwich with fruit, or spaghetti and meatballs.
Also, a pre-game snack can be had if necessary. This should be consumed 1-1.5 hours before the game starts. It can be something small like a banana, apple, or trail mix.
Of course, DON’T FORGET the importance of hydrating. Whether the game is played in the morning or afternoon, every player should be hydrating in the days leading to, and the day of the game.
How We Can Help at FuturElitez Soccer:
At FuturElitez Soccer we emphasize the main factors which will help our soccer players to get into playing at a higher level. Nutrition is an area that does not go unnoticed. We inform all of our players, and parents on the importance of nutrition. Also, we will definitely have more nutrition blogs coming in the future, as we value nutrition very much, so stay tuned!