Sacrifice, hard-work and dedication are all part of life as a professional footballer.
But for those at the elite level, individual preparation for matches is a key component to their success.
So, with that in mind, we asked several Caltex Socceroos how they approach game day and the kind of nutrition they adhere to ahead of a big game.
Normally we tend to play at night so we tend to have a bit of a bigger lunch. Pre-match is probably where my main superstition comes in – toast and coffee.
That’s pretty much been my stock over the last few years.
Nothing changes. Breakfast, walk, stretch, whatever we do game day – lunch, sleep. The main thing is all the preparation before.
Preparation isn’t just game day it’s weeks before, a week before – it starts Monday. How your body feels, any niggles – can you get them massaged out, can you see a physio. Ice baths. Preparation for me is the week leading into that game.
Game day I don’t like to eat a lot. I like to eat the day before and a couple days before, I just like to feel a bit lighter before the game.
You obviously eat a meal as normal but nothing too much. I like to have a little bit of a nap if I catch one after lunch. I’ll go for a walk and come back for a nap.
Some boys like to have a routine. I’m not like that, I’m very much just go with how you feel in the moment. Sometimes you feel like a big meal, sometimes you just want to keep yourself feeling a certain way before the game.
I don’t have any set routines or anything. I normally have scrambled eggs or something on the day of the game but that’s just habit and because it’s good. But that’s not all the time and I’m very much just go with the flow and however I’m feeling on that day that’s how I’ll carry on the day forward.
I just try to relax mostly. I used to be very uptight when I was younger and now each year I try to look at the game a little bit differently and try to calm myself and relax.
I focus on myself and the team’s plan – that’s the main way I prepare.
Usually for a few days before [the game] I try to eat as healthily as I can. No chocolate or sugar, I try to give my body the best chance to be ready for the full 90 minutes. [Food wise] Just normal stuff like chicken, rice, pasta, vegetables – nothing crazy.
I used to have a really strict intake of what I used to eat. Now I try not to focus on it too much, the food we get provided in camp here is unbelievable.
They know exactly what you need to have your body in peak physical condition. I’ll get up and whatever I feel like I’ll have, maybe a banana.
I’m always looking for ways to improve and be at the top of your game and nutrition is a part of that. I try to eat healthy all the time.
Normally breakfast starts off with some muesli and maybe some eggs on toast, some fruit also. Later on at lunch time it’s normally some vegetables and a bit of protein being fish or chicken. Maybe pasta and some rice just before the game.