What To Eat and Drink Before Soccer Games (and What NOT to)

Putting the wrong fuel into a car will cause it to under perform or even cause it to be stranded roadside. The same is true for athletes in regards to the consumption of food and liquid. To perform at maximum efficiency, athletes should eat and drink certain types of food on match day and for that matter the days leading up to a match.

What to eat

Players should consume plenty of carbohydrates such as potatoes and pasta. You may also want to include some easily digestible protein sources such as fish and chicken. Be sure to mix in with some vegetables such as broccoli, which is rich in iron. These give your body the proper energy needed to go hard for ninety minutes. After training you need to replenish your glycogen levels within two to five hours of exercising. The best way to do this is eat plenty of carbohydrates. The body stores carbohydrate energy in the form of glycogen for when needed. Also, if possible, some Glutamine and Arginine vitamins throughout the season will give you some added nutrients. You can find those at your local Wal-Mart for $3.Three days prior to a match, players should start carbo-loading. This translates to eating meals that are about 75 percent complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are in cereals, grains, fruits, and vegetables. On match day, an easily digestible meal high in carbs and low in protein and fat should be eaten three to four hours before kick-off is scheduled. This will optimize the actual energy available to the player during match.

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What to drink

It’s no secret players should drink lots of water, particularly before and after training sessions. Players can lose seven pints(or four liters) or more of water during a match and will need to rehydrate right away. In addition to water, isotonic drinks containing vital nutrients and sugars are particularly easy for the body to absorb. There are many varieties available at your local grocer but to simplify it this should consist of an equal measure in fruit juice and water.

What to avoid

You should avoid anything containing caffeine, such as tea and coffee, as well as alcohol and junk foods the night before your match. Don’t be a sucker for deep fried foods and potato chips either. Also, it’s probably best to not consume dairy products and fatty and high sugar foods.

Soccer Warm Up

For those of you who have read the blog before, you know what MAP stands for (Mobility/Flexibility, Activation and Precompetition).

I created The MAP System about 9 months ago, which means it was Spring here in Sweden, and the weather was pretty good.

The program first consisted of Mobility and Flexibility exercises, followed by Activation exercises, then followed by some running, hopping and skipping drills.

Fast forward a few months and we are in the middle of the winter. Should you really start doing exercises like hip circuits and spiderman stretches when it is -5 degrees Celsius (sorry guys, I don’t do Fahrenheit, but I think that’s like 20 degrees Fahrenheit)?

The reason for performing a good warm-up is to get the players ready for practice, and to optimize performance. And to get ready, you need to loosen up, increase core temperature, activate your muscles and get your feet going.
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However, when it is snow outside and it’s freezing, one reason becomes extra important: increasing core temperature.

Now all of a sudden we need to make sure the players don’t get cold, and by doing stretches and mobility exercises first thing – that will definitely get them cold.

So just a while ago I started thinking about this and experimenting a bit. Experts all over the world have thoroughly divided the warm-up into different steps, and you should follow these steps at any given day. Sure, science is one thing, but real-world situations is another.

One section soccer players really need to focus on warming up is their feet. Foot stretches are great for preventing injuries to your feet.

So basically, what I did was to take The MAP System, and all of its steps, and put it together into a real-world warm-up system.

I still got exercises from all the different steps in MAP, but it is combined and organized so that your players easily can perform the warm-up, whether it’s December or June.

To give you something to take with you right here, right now, and implement it into your training even tomorrow, I decided to create a video for you demonstrating all the different exercises.Check out the video here below (you can see the complete list of all the exercises below the video):

1. Jogging
2. Bounce with arm swings
3. Open-up Chest
4. High Knee Run
5. Butt Kicks
6. Pushups
7. Hip Circuits
8. Heel-to-Toe Walk
9. Knee Hug to Walking Lunge
10. Backward Walking Lunge
11. Side Jumps to Lateral Squat
12. Side Shuffle (at high speed)
13. Squat to Stand
14. Carioca
15. Carioca with Knee-Drive
16. Frankenstein Kicks
17. Backpedal Run
18. Walking 1-leg RDL
19. Diagonal Jumps to Step Over
20. 1 Leg Jumps
21. Defensive Shuffle
22. Power Skip
23. Glute Bridge
24. Leg Swings (linear)
25. Leg Swings (lateral)
26. Ankle Mobility

This soccer warm up will probably take around 10 minutes to perform. After that, I always follow it up with some quick feet drills to get the nervous system really turned on, and depending on what day it is (day after a game, middle of the week, etc), I might follow that up with speed training drills, body control training, etc.

So there you have it, the complete warm-up system for soccer players!