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Mastering the Night Before: Elevating Your Youth Athlete's Game-Day Routine

Dec 28, 2023

In the world of sports, behind every remarkable performance lies an underdiscussed sacred routine—the Night Before the Game Routine. It's the often-overlooked secret that reduces performance anxiety, predicts energy levels, and showcases the discipline of an athlete. Whether your youth athlete already has a routine or is looking to develop one, this article is here to enhance and guide them on their journey.

Building the Foundation: Consistent Bedtime

The foundation of a successful Night Before the Game Routine lies in a consistent bedtime. The best athletes worldwide are meticulous about the time they hit the hay before game days. This not only minimizes energy variations on competition days but also ensures athletes wake up feeling their absolute best. The key is to consider the number of hours needed for quality sleep—aim for a minimum of around 7 hours.

Detailing the 4 Hours Before Bedtime

While some athletes have extensive routines spanning up to 12 hours before game time, focusing on the crucial 4 hours is sufficient for most. To optimize this period:

  1. Determine Optimal Dinner: Identify the dinner meal that makes your youth athlete feel their best on game days. Understanding how different foods affect their body is key to choosing the right pre-game meal.

  2. Curate Pre-Bedtime Entertainment: Plan out the evening's entertainment by creating a list of motivating movies or podcasts that put your athlete in the right mindset. Positive and uplifting content can contribute significantly to mental preparation.

Dialing In the Routine: Predictable and Effective

Night Before the Game Routines provide athletes with a predictable and effective routine to consistently follow before competing. These routines not only help with performance anxiety but also enhance sleep quality and prime the mind for the upcoming competition.

It's crucial to recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't apply here. Extended sleep and carb-loading might not be optimal for everyone. Some athletes prefer a lighter meal or a moderate amount of sleep to avoid feeling lethargic the next day.

As routines evolve over time, patience and adaptability become essential. As a parent or loved one, you can play a pivotal role in helping your youth athlete identify what makes them feel their best and instilling discipline in their routines.

Conclusion: Setting the Stage for Success

The Night Before the Game Routine is more than just a series of steps—it's a prelude to success on the field. By honing in on consistent bedtime and detailing the 4 hours before, youth athletes can craft a routine that optimizes their physical and mental readiness.

Wishing you and your young athletes continued success as they master the Night Before routine! If you have any mental performance-related topics you'd like to see covered in the Parent’s Playbook newsletter, please feel free to let me know.


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