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Sam Vesty Blog : Pre-match preparation

Whatever level of rugby you play or coach at, the build-up to a game is something that is tackled differently by each individual. Everyone develops different routines and habits but there are a few general assumptions I can suggest to you all.

Unless you have a night match, try and make sure that you get up nice and early and start to fuel your body. You will no doubt have some idea of the right foods to eat – everyone is different – but it is crucial to get your body hydrated as soon as possible. Get into a routine with this – and stick to it so that your preparation becomes second nature to you.

When the food/drink side of your preperation is sorted out, start thinking about your roles and responsibilities within the team. Not exhaustively, but just remind yourself of what is expected of you and what you are hoping to bring to the game.

Some people begin to feel anxious when they start thinking about the game. A bit of nerves is perfectly acceptable and I have played with people who have to have a bit of nerves to be able to perform. Allowing that to breed anxiety and self-doubt if something you need to avoid though.


Sam Vesty in his playing days for Leicester Tigers

Sam Vesty in his playing days for Leicester Tigers


Don’t let negative thoughts dominate your processes. You will have practiced and prepared for the game that is coming up so you should know what you are doing. Think confidently and view the upcoming game in a positive fashion.

Getting a bit fired-up is also good in preparation for a game but the same applies here that if you get too wound-up, it can have a negative effect on your performance. By the time kick-off arrives, you can have exerted so much mental energy that you are tired and slow to react to situations. So keep a lid on your emotions during the day.

Finally, make sure you enjoy the game. We all want to win but we all play our wonderful sport to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Sometimes, that can get forgotten, whatever level you play at.

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