How to eat for a game

Professor Ron Maughan from Loughborough University on the dos and don’ts in the build-up to the big match

Six top tips to improve your big-match performance...

DO

More after the break

“Plan ahead and know exactly how you will prepare for each game. Preparation will be different, depending on the time of kick-off. A late breakfast may be good for a lunchtime game, but an evening game will need a different strategy. Practise in training so that you know what suits you best.”

DO

“Be prepared to be flexible. You will need different strategies for each game, depending on the strength of the opposition, the time of the game, the weather conditions and a host of other factors. Your needs will also change depending on the recovery time since the last game.” 

DO

“Make sure that you use the last meal before the game to take extra drinks to make sure that you are well hydrated – any extra fluid will be lost as urine before the game starts. The pre-game meal should also be high in carbohydrate to give you extra fuel to last the full 90 minutes.”  

DON'T 

“Overdo the alcohol the night before a game. A small amount is OK if you are used to alcohol, but anything more than a small amount will have a negative effect on performance the next day.”

DON'T

“Try anything new on match day and don’t use any supplements on match day without being sure that they are safe, no matter how attractive they might seem. Try out any different eating or drinking strategies in training first.” 

DON'T

“Be afraid to do something different from what your team-mates are doing. Your needs are different, so you should not just copy what they are doing: it may suit them but may not be best for you.”

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