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How to Prepare Your Body & Mind
for a Football Match

Jo Williams looks at the best techniques for preparing your body and mind for a football match.

If you play football, the key to your success lies in how well you prepare your body and mind for the match. Most athletes tend to think that they only need to warm up and prepare their bodies for a game, but the truth is that you also need to prepare your mind for what is about to come. Without your mind being focused, engaged, and cleared of distractions, you will not perform well, no matter how strong you are or how well you have warmed up your muscles.

Preparing Mind and Body for the Next Game Continuously

The truth is that preparation for your next football match begins as soon as your previous game has ended. You should constantly focus on improving yourself rather than waiting until perhaps the night before a game to start getting ready for it. Also, focus on what challenges you will face during your next game. This is how the world's greatest football players, including your favourite players from teams like Manchester United, always making headlines, do so well consistently.

On top of being focused mentally on your football matches and your career, if you are or want to become a professional player on any level, you also need to keep your body in shape consistently. Taking care of your body goes far beyond showing up to practice, lifting weights, and running for cardiovascular strength; it is all about keeping your body in the best shape possible both inside and out every day. This means eating pure foods that are good for your health and energise you. And this also means always getting enough sleep and avoiding stimulants, drugs, and alcohol.

Positive Thoughts and Visualisation Techniques

Use positive reinforcement by thinking thoughts that inspire you and encourage you never to give up, to focus on winning all the time, and to practice hard to succeed. In other words, never doubt your abilities. Any negative thoughts, fears, and doubts that enter your mind should be ignored. Focus instead on telling yourself that you will win and do your best.

One of the best ways to focus your mind in preparation for your next match is to employ visualisation techniques. Try to visualise what the next match will look like. Think about the challenges you will face.

  • Do you have an integral player on your team who is injured and will not be there to support you?
  • Will you be facing strong players on the opposing team?
  • What will the conditions of the field be like?

Think about these potential challenges and visualise yourself overcoming possible scenarios on the field. Your mind will be fully prepared to face opponents on game day, and your body will automatically know what to do.

Talk with Your Coach

You have read the news about all-star players and the coaching techniques of people like Louis Van Gaal from Manchester United, and you have probably witnessed how a good coach can change the course of a game by motivating players. Therefore, the mental prep before a game also involves talking to your coach and asking him for advice and his expectations.

Listen to Your Body

It is essential to listen to what your body is telling you when preparing your body. This is the best way to prepare yourself physically to avoid injuries. Pushing yourself too hard will hurt you in the long run. But if you fail to push yourself enough, you will not allow yourself to meet your fullest potential. Therefore, find the balance.

The Importance of Stretching

Starting the day before a match, stretch your muscles. This will prevent injuries. Stretch before and after practice, before bed, and before the game starts, making sure your muscles are warmed up first. 

Conditioning yourself inside and out is a sure-fire way to improve the way you play. By properly preparing your body and mind for a game day, you will dramatically increase your odds of success. The key is to focus on the challenges you will face and head into the match with the strongest body possible.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • WILLIAMS, J. (2014) How to Prepare Your Body and Mind for a Football Match [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Jo Williamson was a personal trainer and Yoga instructor for nearly a decade. She works as a freelance consultant helping businesses and individuals set up health clubs and gyms.