There was a point earlier in the year we thought this weekend would never come.
The return of competitive football in 2020! After the initial spate of tight hamstrings, calves and groins the injury pile up seems to have calmed down a little, and just in time for what has the potential to be one of the most enjoyable periods of playing football in your career.
When else have you been guaranteed games, week in, week out, without interruption? A schedule that gives the coaches a chance to plan their training to maximise who they have out, and use the time they have on the field as efficiently as they can.
The mini pre-season was just that, and there’s going to be a fair share of players coming in a long way from their best – if that’s you, don’t be disheartened as you definitely aren’t alone and with the games coming thick and fast it’ll be a great opportunity to get up to speed quicker than you ever would have otherwise.
With that in mind, here’s a game one checklist of where you’d like to be going into the first competitive match of 2020!
1. Injury free! With a shortened season the importance of keeping injury free is without doubt top of the list. You need to get on top of any niggles, pulls, strains or discomfort you’re feeling and get yourself seen by a physio. So many of the injuries I’ve seen our physios at The Edge deal with is simply coming down to training overload. Men who haven’t been doing much over lockdown assuming they can just pick up where they left off and all of a sudden their bodies are shouting at them to slow down. Whatever the injury, big or small, if you intend to have a meaningful impact on your team’s success this year you’ll not do it from the sideline with a dodgy hamstring so go do something about it!
2. You versus you. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing where you are now against the lad in the club who used lockdown as the chance to get in the shape of his life. You have to judge where you’re at now to where you where before lockdown kicked in. Your condition four months ago is a better barometer of where you are now than that of the fittest man in the team so don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t been smashing 5k PBs and learning how to become a yoga master. You concentrate on working hard on becoming the fittest, sharpest and most positive version of YOU over the next two three months of kicking ball and you’ll have no regrets about the efforts you’ve put in!
3. Match day routine. Do you know what you’re eating before your first game? Or when you’re eating it. Do you know how much water you’ll have taken on board. Or how much sleep you’ll have had the night before. Is your bagged pack the day before the game or is it a rushing match as your lift waits for you at your door? Start your competitive season off right and nail your match day routine. Fuel well pre-game. Hydrate properly. Get a good night’s sleep beforehand. Tick all the boxes and you’ll put yourself in the best position possible to hit the ground running as soon as that whistle blows.
The most important thing of all? Enjoy yourself. These games have been a long time coming. There was a point where it looked incredibly unlikely that we’d see a ball kicked in the calendar year, so make the most of it now when you can!
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