Interested in knowing how to make a big difference to your football performance without sacrificing too much time or energy? A little goes a long way.
By making just some small tweaks you would be surprised how quickly your performance can improve!
Below we have listed some things you can try to reap the rewards come match day.
IMPROVE YOUR MOBILITY
If you want to reduce your risk of injury, run faster and more efficiently then this is a no-brainer.
It’s very common to see players with limited range of motion in their hips, thoracic spine, ankles and shoulders.
You can imagine just how much harder your body has to work to get into correct positions for running, changing direction, jumping and even performing technical skills when you can’t move the way your body is designed to.
You are wasting energy. Reducing the speed you can sprint and putting yourself at unnecessary risk of a non-impact injury.
Spend 60 seconds to 2 minutes on each of the following exercises 4x per week for a month and witness for yourself how much better you move, feel and perform.
Don’t be fooled by those who say they can manage with 4-5 hours sleep per night. This is a myth.
The damaging effects of sleeping as little as 6 hours such as reduction in energy and reaction time as well as an increase in stress have been well publicised by sleep experts. Keeping in mind this is for general population.
You, well you are a competitive football player, who trains hard week in and week out. In order to maintain that level of training you have to be able to recover from it.
Whilst ice baths, off days and massage have a place, there is absolutely no substitute for sleep.
The majority of players we speak to (in particular semi-pro players) either have poor quality or quantity of sleep. In some cases, both.
A consistent lack of sleep will decrease your training and match performance. You are voluntarily making the choice to play at below your optimal level.
Tweak: The recommended sweet spot is around 7 to 9 hours per night. Try a 30 day sleep challenge.
Another foundation of performance is fuelling yourself with the necessary foods to play at your best.
No doubt your brain is swamped with advertising and social media with what to eat, how to eat and how much to eat.
As a footballer you have to be fuelled for training and games. You also have to be able to recover from these sessions. So don’t fall into the low carbohydrate trap that often leaves players feeling lethargic and struggling to recover.
Additionally, maintain a steady consistent protein intake with each meal/snack to support muscle recovery.
Lastly, fat sources are essential for countless health purposes and can also fuel the body during lower intensity activities.
A lot of younger players are eating for aesthetics and not for performance. Many others eat fast food or very little.
Sorting out your nutrition will provide you with what will feel like ‘free fitness’.
Your energy levels will improve and you will sleep better. It has a constant knock on effect to improve your performance with very little effort.
Tweak: Keep it simple.
Eat plenty of whole foods.
Shop on the outside aisles of the supermarket and choose vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, nuts, potatoes, milk, yoghurt and eggs as the bulk of your purchases. Throw in some rice, oats, and spices and you will have a fridge stocked full of goodness.
With these foods I often think its easiest as a base to let people eat as much as they want of these foods. It’s very hard to eat too much because the food is so nutritious! Of course that would be a starting point and any individualisation would be a conversation with a dietitian.
Whilst training hard and consistently is an essential part of the road to successful performance. Making some small tweaks to what you are currently doing can have a drastic improvement on your mood, energy, speed, movement and likelihood of injury.
Mobility: Improve those hips, ankles, shoulders and thoracic spine
Sleep: 30 days of 7-9 hours per night
Nutrition: Eat lots of whole foods!
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