A Guide to Game Day

How do athletes and coaches from different sports prepare for a game?

     Game preparation is a stepping stone that all teams must undergo to fully experience and succeed in their sport. The way players and coaches prepare for a game can differ, however, some make sure to get lots of sleep and others watching their diet. It depends on the person and the sport they play.

     For varsity boys soccer coach Kevin Branigan, focusing on ways his players and himself can get better is his ultimate goal. Branigan mentioned the importance of game footage, saying that they watch “At least once a week, depending on what [they] have available at the time.” 

     When asked about changing routines for a specific game he went on to talk about how in high school it wouldn’t be ideal for the players, considering the short time between their games, which doesn’t allow the players enough time to rest.

     “Wednesdays can be pretty relaxed,” Branigan said,“and Fridays are almost meaningless.” He’s always trying to give his player’s bodies enough time to recover between games, often making it tough to fit into intense practices once games begin.

     For a player, preparation may be slightly different, with their focus obviously being on playing the game instead of coaching it. For varsity girls soccer player Bethany Marteeny, she’s more focused on being calm and relaxed. 

     “I just try to get a lot of sleep,” Marteeny said, “and I try to get my homework done.” For a player like Marteeny, getting rid of her other stressors is key to being focused on any upcoming games.

     “I never want to do homework if we win, and I really never want to do it if we lose.” 

     Marteeny, however, isn’t the only one that likes things to be ready ahead of time. JV and varsity volleyball player sophomore Sydney Harrington spends the night before a game, making sure her entire uniform is ready to go for the following day. Harrington will then spend time watching film from games or going through a notebook with inspiring quotes before going to bed.

    While both these players have similar routines, they both keep their diets healthy for separate reasons.

     “I cramp kind of easily,” Marteeny said, “I try to eat peanut butter banana toast four hours before a game. Potassium and all that.”

     Harrington doesn’t have a specific reason like Marteeny, instead she focuses on her diet for general health.

     “I just try to stay healthy.” Harrington said, “Obviously I have cheat days where I’m gonna want some popcorn, but I’m just trying to stay healthy.” 

     Different from other athletes, Natalie Baas plays her sport in water. Playing for the girls varsity water polo team, Baas prepares mentally for a game by talking to her mom and her sister who help calm her down. She makes sure to get lots of sleep the night before and tries to relax moments before the game as a way to calm her nerves. 

     She also said that she, “makes sure to drink lots of water before playoffs or state.” 

These things all together help Baas perform at her best and her nutrition helps her feel her best before playing in those high stake games.

     All these athletes and coaches may have their own ways of getting physically and mentally ready, but teammates can also have a huge impact on how the team feels going into a game. The most notable pregame tradition is from the volleyball team.

     “We’d always before the games go into the team room and have little dance parties,” Harrington explains, “we’d always get hyped up.” 

     This  between teammates can create chances for teams to do great things. Teams and individuals create routines that help enhance their performance and allow them to perform at their very best. Finding out what helps one calm their nerves and prepare mentally and physically is a major obstacle that must be surpassed, but can have unintentional effects that help the individual and the team in the long run.