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Ideal Performance State for Soccer

What's your ideal performance state to play soccer? What state of mind do you need to be in to perform your best on the soccer field? Some players like to drink a Red Bull before a game. Some players swear by a cup of coffee. Some players have to drink tea.

It's different for everybody, in terms of what pre-game rituals they have and what puts them in the best frame of mind to play their best. Frankie Hejduk is known to down quite a few Starbucks espresso shots prior to playing. All the respect to Hejduk, but he's a unique type of player let's just say - full of energy and certainly doesn't need any espresso.

In general, for most players, they want to be hydrated, rested and have eaten a good but light meal prior to playing. What's key though is being a state of 'relaxed readiness', which means possessing energy without tension: calm, loose, and responsive to the pressures of the game. Someone like AC Milan's Robinho, who has such a carefree and relaxed manner, is probably in this state of mind as soon as he steps on the pitch.

How do you get in a state of relaxed readiness? Well, there's really no short cut. It's something you have to do on a regular basis and can't do right before the game. If you didn't get enough sleep the night before, then it's going to be tough to play at your peak level. However, this is again player specific, some Brazilian players, like Romario, were known to be out late dancing samba at the clubs prior to games. If he scored a goal and the night before he was out dancing, he was going to go out again. Remember though, this is Romario; he was a very special soccer player.

That's way many soccer players are superstitious. If they have a good game then they're going to do everything the same before their next match. That's means eating the same food, listening to the same music and maybe even wearing the same socks. But again, for everyone it's different, find out what makes you comfortable and then stick with that.

Here are a few keys for any soccer pre-game and pre-season rituals:


  • Give yourself enough time to get to the field and not have to rush
  • Get a good sweat going before the game
  • Stretch out all the major muscles groups
  • Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth to relax
  • Excite - some players like to listen to music and or watch videos before games to get pumped up
  • Eat well and get a good amount of sleep the night before
  • Massage – helpful after an intense workout or before a game
  • Visualization – map out in your mind positive actions you want to accomplish
  • Be fit and prepared - there's no short cut with this; training hard prior to the start of the season is crucial
  • Set goals for the season
  • Work hard everyday - don't take days off at training unless you're hurt; there are always ways you can get better
  • Do something decisive right from the start (make a tackle, shield the ball strongly from an opponent, clear the ball, or go seek out the ball and get involved in the game)

Learn more about how to get mentally focused for soccer and figure out your ideal performance state on the pages below:

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