Tag Archives: prepared

Pre-Game Preparations

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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


Make Your Coach Like You

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I received the best piece of advice on how to be coached after two years of playing lacrosse:

“It does not matter if you like the coach. It does matter if the coach likes you.”

This is an interesting lesson to learn at 11 years old. What do you mean I have to make the coach like me? I’m young and generally cheerful how can I possibly not be liked? Well there are a few reasons that I will list for you and I am guilty of committing all of them:

  1. No hustle in practice – At the very least jog to where you need to be. Nothing bugs a coach more than waiting to start a drill because everyone is walking to the huddle.
  2. Complaining and/or whining – Every player will someday say these words: “I’m tired. This is hard. When is practice over? When do we get to do something fun?” As a youth coach hearing these words is the exact equivalent of one hundred tiny monkeys crawling over my head armed with miniature icepicks, which they repeatedly jam into my head. If you are going to gripe do it out of earshot of the coach.
  3. Being Late – Parents this applies to you as well as the youth players. Lateness disrupts a practice plan, especially if multiple players are late. Get into the habit of showing up five minutes early for practice because your high school coach will not take pity on you or your teammates. I have run far more wind sprints than I care to remember for late teammates.
  4. Asking when you get to go into the game – The entire reason players practice is to play, but if there are twenty-two kids on a team twelve will sit on the bench at any given time. Nothing makes me want to keep a kid on the pine more than hearing “Coach, I haven’t gotten in yet.” Players, trust that your coaches at the youth level will make every effort to keep playing time as equal as possible, but occasionally he will forget. Remind him politely at halftime. If you still don’t get in for the rest of the game find me, or an AYL Staff member, and we will make sure you get in.
  5. I forgot my _____ – In ten years of attending practice I forgot my helmet once and my stick once. I understand forgetting equipment occasionally. Do not make forgetting your gear a habit. If it happens once a season, then fine. If it happens every other practice I will eventually bring duck tape to practice and I will bind the gear to your body for a week.
  6. “Dude, bro, guy, buddy” – A coach is a Coach, with a capital “C.” Or if his name is John Doe – Coach Doe. And if you forget Coach Doe’s name, saying sir never hurts. Keep the pet names for your friends.
Avoid the Angry Monkey!

Avoid the Angry Monkey!

Always remember that if you are on a coach’s good side good things will happen to you. You can stay on the good side by not complaining, hustling everywhere, and showing him respect even if you think he does not deserve it. Learn this lesson now and you will be well prepared once you tryout for your High School lax team.

Featured Image Credit – www.123rf.com