Premier League Prep for a Sunday League star

Combine Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pre-match routine with some grassroots grit and start your game on the front foot

Fire up the boombox

What Ox does…
Before the Arsenal man bosses the pitch he bosses the dressing room, with chest-thumping hip-hop. “I’m in charge of the stereo,” he tells FFT.

What you should do...
If 2 Chainz ain’t your thang, slip on the headphones and try Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj – as suggested by Dr Costas Karageorghis, an expert in the ergogenic effects of music. The 150bpm is sure to get your legs whirring.

More after the break

Break in the tools of your trade

What Ox does…
The Ox could fill the Emirates with box-fresh boots from Nike, but he prefers to lace up with a pair he’s worn in. “I have two pairs on a matchday – one to play in and a spare in case they split,” he explains. “I wear them in for three weeks so they’re moulded to my feet.”

What you should do…
“Wear your boots away from the pitch as much as possible first,” advises Wycombe kitman Stewart Bannister. “Give them a run out
on grass before gradually wearing them for training. Stick some newspaper in them to keep the shape.”

Set your superstitions straight

What Ox does…
Footballers are creatures of routine and the England international is no different. “I put my left shin pad on before my right,” he admits. “And I hop three times on my left leg before I go on the pitch.”

What you should do...
Shelve the superstitions? It depends. “It’s a safety blanket for some players,” says former Norwich City midfielder Paul McVeigh, who now runs ThinkPRO, an elite performance development programme. “If it’s part of a player’s routine and gets them in the zone,
then brilliant. But if he’s a slave to his superstition, that can become a problem.”

Watch yourself happy

What Ox does…
He watches himself in full HD glory, that’s what. “Sometimes
I will watch a highlights video of myself,” he confesses. “This gets me in a positive mindset.”

What you should do…
Put down the remote and hit play on your own internal highlights reel. “Visualisation reinforces a level of self-worth and positive expectations,” says West Brom’s peak performance coach, Tom Bates.

For more football tips see:
Rooney: Big match preparation
Clint Dempsey: mental preparation
Demba Ba's big match preparation

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