Basketball requires a lot of energy, which carbs provide.
Eat a pre-game meal that’s high in carbs, such as pasta with sauce. Make sure to eat 2 hours ahead of the game so you have time to digest the meal.
- Once you find a pre-game meal you like, you can stick to eating that before every game to develop your pre-game routine.
- For example, you might decide to only eat spaghetti before games.
- Particularly healthy carb options include whole-grains and legumes.
- Avoid things like refined sugars and heavily processed foods, which are high in calories and unhealthy fats and don’t provide a lot of nutrition.
2. Athletes have to stay hydrated to perform well.
During a basketball game, your body sweats a lot, which decreases its store of water rapidly. Drink water consistently the day and night before a game and during the day leading up to the game.
- A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half and drink at least 1 oz (30 mL) of water per 1 lb (0.45 kg) of body weight every day.
- During practice or a game, try to drink 7-10 oz (207-296 mL) of water for every 10-20 minutes of active gameplay
3. This gets your blood pumping and helps prevent injuries.
Find a space to jog and stretch in an auxiliary gym or in the hallway outside the locker room. Jog for 5 to 10 minutes at a slow pace so you only break a little sweat, then do some stretching after your muscles are loose from the jog.
- This portion of the warm-up may be done as a team or independently.
- Try a wall lat stretch: Stand 2 to 3 feet in front of a wall. Place your hands on the wall and lean forward. Step your right foot approximately 1 foot away from the wall and drop your head between your hands. Bring your right foot forward and pick up your head. Repeat on the left side.
- Do a hamstring rocker: Stand with your legs in a split stance (one foot in front of the other). Bend forwards and place one hand on each side of the front foot. Straighten your front leg as you lift up your hips. Bend your front leg as you drive your hips towards the ground. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
4. A pre-game drill routine locks you in for the game.
Start close to the basket and take some shots to get a feel for the basket and the backboard, then work your way out and take shots from further away. Do some ball handling drills to get a feel for the basketball.
- Your coach and assistant coaches probably have a pre-game routine that they like their players to do. Listen to any instructions from them regarding this.
5. This gives you plenty of time to get dressed and warm up.
- Make travel arrangements in advance and make sure you know how to get to the gym and how long it takes. Check in with your coach when you arrive to let them know you’re there.
- Arriving early gives you plenty of time to get dressed as well as be part of the team meeting and discuss the game plan with your coach and team.
6. Mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation.
Try to relax and push negative thoughts or worries out of your mind before the game. When your mind’s at ease, your body is less tense. Focus on the task at hand and visualize success.
- You can use meditation to clear your mind of negative or stressful thoughts.
- Before a game, find a quiet place to sit. Close your eyes and focus on breathing in and out for 10 to 20 minutes. As thoughts come into your head, acknowledge them and then let them pass.
7. Nervousness is just anticipation for an exciting game.
After all, if you weren’t nervous or weren’t excited to be on the court, that would mean you didn’t care! Try not to overthink the upcoming game and let go of any fear of failure.
- Don’t worry about making every shot or playing a perfect game — even NBA players make mistakes.
- If you’re nervous the night before a game, try distracting yourself by watching a movie or reading a good book.
8. Music can help psych you up for the game.
Use any downtime you have after you arrive and before you warm up to listen to a song or playlist that gets you pumped. Find a place to sit or stand, put your headphones in, pump the volume, and get in your zone!
- If music doesn’t get you psyched, you can do anything else that helps you get in the zone. For example, maybe watching basketball highlights on YouTube inspires you.