Game Day Run Down: Warm Ups, Meal Prep, and Mentality
Whether you need to listen to “Eye of the Tiger” exactly 10 minutes before you go on the ice, or shoot at least 100 pucks the day before a game, we all have some sort of a routine.
No two pregame rituals are the same, but there are a few things every player can do to be strong, focused, and ready to play at their best.
Prior to Gameday
When it comes to preparation and training, off days are just as important as game days. The night before a game, keep it simple.
- Stretch out before bed
Keep your muscles loose and warm, but stay away from the weights! There’s nothing worse than bending over to tie your skates and realizing that your legs are too tight to make it down. Keep it simple and work on agility and quickness - passing, shooting, and stick handling. Try working with a training aid, like SweetHands and up the difficulty with a Speed Ball.
- Stay hydrated
Good hydration helps to keep your body in peak condition. If you’re not hydrated, you’ll feel tired, cramped, and unprepared on the ice.
- Eat Healthy
Load up on simple carbs and starches from whole-grain breads, pasta, cereal, rice, and lentils. Stay away from candy, soda, and other sugary foods.
- Get a good night’s sleep
Mentally, it’s important that you get in your right state of mind. This mind state is different for every athlete. Maybe you need to listen to music and get your mind away from game day nerves, or maybe you want to visualize the game in your head - do what works best for you. Most importantly, you need to get enough sleep. This means going to bed at a reasonable time and not staying up late watching TV or browsing your phone. Sleep is crucial, and without it, your game will be off.
It’s game day- maybe you have school or work or it’s a morning game. Either way, it’s still game day. Get up early, eat a good, healthy breakfast, and get your day going.
- Stay active throughout the day
A light warmup like jogging or a ride on a stationary bike can get your heart rate going. No matter how you decide to warm up, remember to avoid simply sitting around all day before game time.
- Keep drinking water
Stay hydrated! The water that you drink throughout the day is what your body will use during game time.
- Eat healthy
Keep your food choices simple - fruit, vegetables, and protein will help you play at your best.
Game time is in 2-3 hours, it’s time to get locked in.
- Dynamic Warmups
Take part in dynamic warmups individually and with your teammates. Focus on stretching, agility, and coordination. This warm up is essential for getting your body ready to go so you can perform at your peak.
- Keep it Light
Stay away from any heavy foods and keep it light an hour or two before your game. No rink hot dogs, candy bars, or doughnuts! Try to grab a piece of fruit or a whole-wheat snack.
- Get In The Zone
This is the time to get focused. You can still joke around and have some fun with your teammates, but you need to know when to turn it off and focus in on the game ahead. Keep your mind open- try not to overthink too much and leave yourself plenty of time to get dressed, tape your stick, and get in the zone.
This is all you! You’ve prepared as best you can mentally, physically, and nutritionally, so now it’s time to get out on the ice and leave it all out there! Ice hockey is an intense sport. Proper stretching, sleep habits, hydration, nutrition, and mental preparation will all help you play at your best. Make sure to follow up your game with light stretching, a protein packed meal, and a moment to reflect on your contributions on the ice – and then it’s time to start preparing for the next game