By the Bewolfish Team. Paula Marcé, nutritionist; Nathalie Garcia, sports psychologist; Xevi Salvador, performance coordinator; and Aina López, communication.
The hours before a competition are key to a good performance. It is important to maintain a training plan on a constant basis over time in order to achieve our goals regularly. However, in this article we suggest some tips to do before a game that will surely improve your performance. The nutrition, the mental and physical preparation, and the communicative activity are the four crucial aspects that we will review next.
As we have already mentioned, it is important to keep in mind that the optimum and necessary nutritional state for an athlete is not achieved with miraculous diets, special foods, magical supplements or only with the food ingested the same day of the game or competition. It is the result of improving your eating habits, following a healthy, varied and balanced diet, adjusted to your needs and sportive objectives, along with proper training. All this carried out over a long period of time.
Therefore, before a competition, we seek to fill out our glucose storages in the liver and in the muscles, as well as begin with a proper hydration. If the game or competition lasts more than 90 minutes, it is important to significantly increase the consumption of carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereals, rice) 36-48 hours before the game, in order to have the deposits of glycogen filled up to the maximum. You may notice an increase in your body weight, as the levels of water are also increased by filling glycogen deposits. On the other hand, if the competition lasts less than 90 minutes, it is not necessary to increase the consumption of carbohydrates 36-48h before. With the follow-up of a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet, following the recommendations of the healthy plate, and keeping a correct hydration and intake routine on the day of the competition, it is enough.
“On the day of the competition,
do not test new foods or supplements,
as you may cause yourself gastrointestinal
With all this in mind, on the day of the competition, the main meal before the start of the game must be done between 1-4 hours before. It must be easy to digest, low in fiber and in fat. For instance, toast with tomato, turkey or egg, some olive oil and a piece of fruit. If there is nervousness, loss of appetite or if there is only 1-2h left before the start of the competition, you can ingest foods in a semi-liquid or liquid state: a vegetable smoothie, without added sugar, skinless fruit or oat flakes can be a very good option. When it is less than an hour left, small snacks, such as dehydrated banana, gummies, or ½ energy bar, can be a good idea. However, on the day of the competition do not test new foods or supplements, as it may cause yourself gastrointestinal problems.
Finally, do not forget to stay well hydrated. Check the color of your urine: light yellow indicates that the hydration is correct, darker colors, on the contrary, mean that you suffer from dehydration and, therefore, you have to drink plenty of water. To avoid this, start drinking your isotonic drink between 2-4 hours before the start of your warm-up (5-7 ml/kg). Take a break 30 minutes before and start over, if possible, at each break or at the halftime, taking a drink of 100-250 ml and interspersing isotonic drink and water every 15-30 min.
Warming up is fundamental in order to achieve a state of optimal activation of your body. One of the main benefits of warming up is to rise the body temperature and to increase the speed of nerve transmission. To achieve this, joint mobility routines, strength and stability exercises, jumps, specific exercises from your sport and short sprints should be included in your warming up. The duration of the warm up should be between 15 and 25 minutes since an excess could cause fatigue and your performance in the competition could be affected.
In order to be mentally prepared and able to confront the pressure of having competition, we propose 3 key aspects to consider:
Concentration. You should take into account all those aspects that make you perform better, and mentally review them in your head. They must be concise and brief so that they make it easier for you to focus.
Activation. It is the moment when your attention and responsiveness are optimum, your interpretation of the situations in the competition are accurate and your reflexes and mental activity are on point. It is important that you are energetic enough so that you perform at your maximum, always with the measure of not reaching overexcitement. For this reason, you will have to identify your proper level of energy and excitement, in order to be able to find it at the moment of the competition.
Self-confidence. When it comes to competing, self-confidence is a relevant factor. Review all those aspects that make you feel prepared and that you know that you master. Being aware that you are well prepared will make you feel secure when facing possible doubts or uncertainties.
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Learning to focus properly (physically and mentally) increases our “worth” when it comes time to train or compete. Proper focus keeps us from going into the negative balance when things are not going our way. Focusing on the opportunities (not the obstacles) increases our mental bank account. Learning to properly focus mentally involves developing all of your mental muscles (goal setting, visualization, mindfulness, positive self-talk). Focus has become increasingly difficult in today’s iPhone/FOMO society and it is crucial for high performing athletes to develop this skill. How “rich” are you when it comes to your ability to focus? #mindgym #changeyourmind #changeyourworld #mentaltraining #focus
Regarding the communication, it is recommended that each athlete does a self-analysis of what will work best for them. There are cases in which communicating to your followers in advance that you have a competition can make you extra nervous and add too much pressure to the situation. If this tension can endanger your performance, it is best that you choose not to announce it. In addition, if this is your case, we recommend you not to expose yourself to social media or the press before the competition.
In the other hand, if announcing the competition to your followers is does not influence you, we suggest you to invite them to attend the game or give them information about how to watch it broadcast. This will undoubtedly increase the audience and also the awareness of your results. There are cases, and this happens often, in which the pressure of having a group of enthusiastic fans supporting you can propel your energy positively.
If the competition is important, as it could be a final or a well-known tournament, we recommend that you start posting about it a week in advance, every day. There are several tactics through which you can raise awareness about a game in social media, a story recording yourself where you explain the importance of the encounter and how you feel, a survey asking who do they think will win or how excited are they, you can even do a tutorial on how you prepare yourself before the competition. In this way, fans will feel part of the journey, they will experience it as their own. On the other hand, if it is a game with fewer media significance, with one or two reminders will be enough, one day before or the same day of the competition.
Adapt these tips to your own ways and make a routine that you can easily repeat whenever you have a game. This will not only give you confidence in the preparation but it will also help you organize the day since you will know exactly what to do and how much time do you need.
We hope this article helps you with improving your sports performance and your results. You will find more articles like this in our Magazine. Subscribe to read them all without any restrictions!