I was never a Boy Scout, but I love their motto: Be Prepared
I have lost count of the number of players showing up for a game without equipment, poorly hydrated, ate too much or ate too little, did not get enough sleep, or were late. All of these maladies are preventable if players engage in a little discipline. Through a lot of trial-and-error, I developed a 24 hour plan for almost all of my high school games. Use it if you like or modify it to your needs. Mainly, I want all of the AYL players to craft a plan for themselves that prepares them for their game.
The 24 Hour Pre-Game Plan:
- 24 hours out – Start hydrating
- This means water. Lots and lots of water. Avoid gatorade, soda, and other flavored drinks. Take a Nalgene bottle with you and sip water throughout the day.
- By the end of the day your urine should be mostly clear. This is how you know your body is fully saturated with water.
- *Note – do not guzzle water, sip it through the day. Consuming too much water in a short period of time may lead to a dangerous condition called Hyponatremia, where there ratio of fluid to salt in your body is skewed with too much water.
- 18 hours out – Pack your bag
- Nothing causes more angst and confusion than opening your gear bag and finding only your left glove. Make a checklist of all your required gear and put it on the refrigerator. Place each piece of equipment into the bag and check it off the list. Now you know you have everything you need.
- 17-14 hours out – Eat a healthy dinner
- Notice I said healthy dinner, not just dinner. This means you are eating something that is not fried or comes from a fast-food chain if you can help it. You want food that will fill your tank, not give you quick energy. Eat a bowl or two of pasta and some vegetables. You want to fill full, but not stuffed with food.
- 11-3 hours out – Go to sleep
- Sleep is critical. You cannot physically perform at your highest level on less than 7-8 hours of sleep. Avoid television for at least 30 minutes before going to bed. As the light from the television affects the circadian rhythms of your body. Making it harder to fall asleep when night falls (www.io9.com).
- 2 hours out – Eat a healthy breakfast
- It is the most important meal of the day for a reason. Not eating breakfast forces your body to dig into the reserve fuel that you built up over the last day. Eat something with protein (eggs, peanut butter), some bread/grains, and some fruit. Bananas are a great choice here, as are apples. Avoid eating anything with large amounts of sugar. You do not want to crash into a sugar low right before your game.
- 1 hour – 30 minutes out – Show up at the field
- Being early keeps you from being late. Use this extra time to gear up, warm up, stretch, and throw with teammates.
- 10 minutes out – Calm yourself
- As Yogi Bera said, “90% of this game is half mental.” Take two minutes and take deep breaths with your eyes closed. Sitting down or lying down is even better. This will help with pre-game “butterflies” or overall anxiety.
- Game Time!
- You prepared yourself well so go have fun!
If this plan appeals to you go ahead and use it. Or create your own that fits your needs. Remember that the basics still apply: Water, Healthy Food, and Sleep. If you take care of yourself physically before the contest your mind will be at ease, and you will find that you “get into the flow” of the game much better with a little bit of preparation.
Featured Image Credit – www.claybennett.com