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Athletic Preparation the Day Before a Tournament

By Kim Nunley

Taking time to prepare the day before an athletic tournament will help ensure that all of your training pays off and that you perform at your best. To get your body ready for a strenuous bout of multiple games or competitions, follow an active rest routine the day before the tournament so that your body is rested but doesn’t become stiff. Consume nutritious foods and adequate fluids so that you’re properly fueled and hydrated. Schedule some time in the day for mental preparation so that you’re focused and confident going into the tournament and take care of travel plans and other logistics.

Active Rest

Although you want to be completely rested physically before your tournament, you should still incorporate a light-intensity workout to keep your body loose. If you lie around and do nothing, you could hinder your performance the next day because of stiffness and an inactive nervous system. Perform a 30-minute workout that consists of working on your technique. For example, if you’re a baseball player, do 10 minutes each of playing catch, fielding grounders and batting practice. Proper sleep will help your body heal and recover prior to the tournament and will help you be more mentally sharp. Get seven to eight hours of sleep the night before your tournament.

Nutrition and Hydration

What you eat and drink the day before your tournament will dictate how fueled and hydrated you are during competition. A lack of proper fueling can lead to low blood sugar, which in turn could cause fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and indecisiveness. These conditions would clearly hinder your athletic performance. Each of your meals should consist of healthy, slow-digesting carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, beans, whole-grain bread and brown rice, because they will help keep your glycogen stores full. Stay properly hydrated by drinking more water the day before your tournament and two to three glasses of water before you go to bed.

Mental Readiness

Incorporate some time in your day to prepare mentally for your tournament. Reacquaint yourself with any keys or objectives that you’ve gone over with your coach and teammates. Close your eyes and visualize yourself performing well. Athletes who can visualize and feel their success are more confident when it comes time for competition. Watch game footage of your opponents to familiarize yourself of their tendencies or watch video of great athletes participating in your sport.

Logistics Preparation

Use the day before your tournament to pack and handle all the logistics surrounding your tournament participation. Make a list of all clothing and equipment you need for competition, including your uniform, shoes or cleats, athletic equipment, sports bra, helmet or hat and socks. If staying overnight, add in toiletries, pajamas and changes of clothes. Print directions to the athletic field, court or stadium and ensure that your vehicle has enough gas for the trip. Figure out what time you need to leave the next day to allow for traffic or other delays. Visit the grocery store to get fruits and other snacks, as well as water, so that you can immediately refuel after each game or match. Taking care of these items the day before your tournament rather than the morning of will limit stress and allow you to get mentally prepared for competing in the tournament.

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