Great players constantly work on their game and find ways to challenge themselves. Developing a strong pre-game routine can be the key to getting yourself game-day ready.
The same way you can’t learn new material while taking an exam, you also cannot learn new skills during a game. Game day is when you apply everything you learned in practice. It’s when all that training comes together. Use your practice time to think about the ins-and-outs of your game. Go over every detail of your performance – don’t leave anything to chance.
Study the Opponent
If you know you’re playing against a physical team, take steps to prepare for that playing style during practice. The more your practice, the easier it will be for you to anticipate the game.
Picture the Game
Before heading to the court, take a moment to think about the game. Visualize yourself walking out to play, picture yourself making baskets and passing the ball. Picture everything the best you can. It will help everything flow more naturally come game time.
Eat Well / Stay Hydrated
Having a well balanced breakfast, and drinking plenty of water, doesn't only give you the energy to play, it also can help put you in a better mood and keep you focused. Drink 10 to 16 ounces of water about two hours before playing, and then another 8 to 16 ounces right before hitting the court. Water will provide you with plenty of hydration on most days, but when you know games will be more intense sports drinks can be helpful. Check out the nutrition section for more information.
Prepare Your Bag
Nothing is worse than having to rush out of the door for a game, only to remember, you forgot your water bottle, or you didn’t bring the right shoes. The night before a game, make sure you pack your gym bag with everything you need to bring with you. Double check that your uniform is clean, and that your shoes are comfortable. You don’t want any surprises when you’re on your way to the gym.
You can’t play well when you’re tired. Get at least eight hours of sleep before game. It’ll help keep you alert and sharp.