how to prepare for a football game

How To Prepare For A Football Game

To perform to the best of your ability, preparation for a football game must start days before a match. Things like studying your opponent’s key skills and capabilities cannot be done on the day and so, giving yourself enough time in advance is the best way to score success and win the big game! 

Preparation should be an equal balance between mental and physical. Every player is different so make sure you figure out which methods of preparation suit you best to ensure that you won’t be wasting your time.

Mental Preparation

You should always try and approach a game with a positive mindset. Discuss ways that you can overcome nerves with your coach so your head is in the game for the right reasons. Find the right balance between nerves and confidence – this is the best mindset you can be in. 

If you feel overly confident, perhaps your opponents have had a bad season so far, don’t let this distract you. Confidence and cockiness are two completely different things and you must remember that what works against one team won’t always work against another, you should be able to adapt your existing techniques to out beat other teams.

how to prepare for a game of football

As soon as you have finished this week’s game you should start preparing for the next. A key part of mental preparation is staying positive. A positive mindset will enable you to stay cool and calm under pressure. Even professional athletes have to take steps to manage this so it’s perfectly normal.

Physical Preparation


Regular and consistent training sessions will keep you in top physical condition and help with preparing your body for the match ahead. It’s essential that you stick to the right diet to retain the physical state your body is in. Ask coaches what types of food you should and shouldn’t be eating to make sure you are at your ultimate peak fitness level. 

A great tip to stay hydrated is to drink a litre of water on matchday to ensure that you maintain your energy levels. On game day, it is advised that the on-pitch warm-up should last 25-30 minutes. This should start with simple movements before progressing to higher-intensity movements and drills. The final few minutes should be more fast-paced to get your body ready for the pace of the match and to prevent any injuries.

Just Before the Game


The pre-match meal should be consumed 3-4 hours before the game. This will allow the body to digest the food to convert it into energy for the match. Alongside this meal, you should have plentiful amounts of water. 


This will enable you to perform at the highest level and give your team the best chance of winning. Players often eat the same meal before every match to maintain the performance levels they are used to.

After Match Recovery

You should refuel with water or a sports drink or energy immediately after the game in the dressing room. This will best enable your muscles to recoup energy. 


A few hours after the match you should eat foods which are high in carbohydrates within two hours of the match. This is advised because it will enable you to replenish your energy levels to pre-match levels. Getting a good night’s sleep is also essential for recovery for football players after a game. 

It is recommended that you get 8-9 hours of sleep and avoid using electronic devices before bed. Stretching after the game is important with 15 minutes of static stretching to cool down your muscles. Focus on the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and glutes. 


  • Listen to your body during training sessions to reduce the risk of injury – if you need to have a break then do so!
  • Talk to your coaches to find out the best tactics for the game
  • Keep yourself hydrated to maintain your energy levels


  • Not sticking to the correct diet can cause you to lack energy on matchday and affect your performance incredibly 
  • Warming up too much can cause you to be tired during the game
  • Don’t forget the mental preparation needed for a match, it is just as important as the physical preparation

Now you know how to prepare for a football match, you can use these tips to improve your performance for your next game – good luck! Mark Harrod Ltd supply a wide range of football equipment including goals, nets and a whole host of football training equipment. Visit our shop to browse!