Matthew Davies: Big match preparation

Preparing for a big game is all about maintaining a routine, explains Pahang FA and Malaysia defender Matthew Davies

No point worrying

"I try not to think about the game until closer to the match. Maybe the night before the game I'll watch a movie, listen to some music or just chat with my teammates. For me, it works best when I don't overly focus on a game. I actively try and avoid worrying about the game too much too soon. On game day, I head to a coffee shop and relax."

More after the break

Keep hydrated

"Having said that, I keep close watch on my diet and hydration. Probably about two days before the game, I start to increase my carbohydrate intake and make sure I take in an ample amount of rice, pasta or bread. You will never catch me without a bottle of water the day before a game.

"On game day itself, I like to drink a mixture of Gatorade and hydration salts to make sure I'm fully hydrated. I also like to have a thorough stretch on the match day … just a habit I've gotten myself into."

Get in the zone

"Just before the match I go into a completely different zone. I like to listen to my music with headphones on and I won’t take them out until the coach starts talking. For me it’s important just before the game to fully concentrate and visualise how you want to play and what roles you have."


"I've had this routine ever since I became a professional footballer. Routine is key for me on game day! Footballers are strange in this way … if they play a good game one week, they will try to replicate what they did before that game so they play the same the next week!

"My lucky charms include a corner spot in the change room, low socks and black boots. I can’t reveal them all of course! Everyone knows what works best for themselves. For me a combination of the above things helps me to prepare best. Of course I'd feel uneasy if I missed any components of this preparation but I don't think I ever do!"

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