Most definitely one of the biggest conundrums I face when preparing for a football match, what exactly should I be taking with me to the game? The thing that I did to solve this was write a list, which allowed me to stop fretting and rushing about before a game. Before this list, more often than not, I forgot one or two items that I later regretted. So, the point of this article is to provide a place with a full, definitive list of the necessary kit for your game. Carry on reading for more..
1. Football boots
The obvious one, but one that is often overlooked. You must remember to ALWAYS bring soft ground and firm ground football boots. You never know what the pitch is going to be like when you’re at the ground.
2. Shin pads
Unbelievably, the last game I played in, one of the opposition players forgot his shin-pads and so had to grab some off a substitute. Seems crazy I know, but it’s definitely worth ensuring you 100% have them with you.
3. Spare socks
Personally, I use the ‘cut the foot off a football sock and wear white socks underneath’ (picture below), and since I’m only wearing one pair of socks.. If it’s raining my feet often got soaked. It’s uncomfortable, and can be prevented.
4. Water bottle + isotonic drink
Your team may provide water bottles already, but I always take my own to avoid any infections of illnesses from sharing bottles with my team-mates. An isotonic drinks speaks for itself, and personally I just use ones that are cheap and high in sugars. I’ve experimented a little and found them to be more effective than expensive ones.
5. Energy powders/shots/gels
I use gels, as I find them the easiest to digest personally.. But this is once again personal preference. They are a MUST. I really cannot recommend them enough. All professional footballers will use some form of energy source, and you must too. Stock up on a few, just in case. However, I find that once I’ve taken shots I struggle to sleep at night, so it’s something to bear in mind.
Unfortunately, I live in England, and England is notorious for cold weather (even in Summer). As well as this, I live in a VERY hilly place, which often means lots of wind. For me, thermals are a must. I admit, my team-mates give me stick about this, but really, being too cold will hinder your performance, so it’s definitely something to bear in mind!
Most certainly not a necessity for most people, but for me it’s something I can’t do without. I’ve often considered buying some real professional tape. But then I find that normal electricity tape does the job for me. It’s becoming a reasonably common theme for people to use tape, and it’s certainly better playing with secured shin-pads.
Only recently have I started considering the benefits of eating a pre-match snack and another snack at half-time, you can read more about this here, but it’s definitely worth a thought. A banana an hour before the game will give you a little burst of energy, and a little snack such as jelly babies at half-time will get those glycogen levels topped up.
9. MP3 Player
Not everybody might be lucky enough to own one, but if you do then fantastic. Using this raises your heartbeat, pumps adrenalin around your system and gets you mentally prepared for the game. Not all managers believe in this, Arsene Wenger for example, it’s something I can’t live without though.
10. Work Ethic
By far the most important one. This is something that I have left behind far too many times in the past and have suffered as a result. Work hard, and you’ll have a good game. A perfect example of this is Scott Parker, his work ethic has led him to be called up to the England team. He would literally die for Tottenham and England, and is a perfect example of how every football player, young or old, amateur or professional, should play.
So there you have it, the 10 things you should bring to every football match, rain or shine. I wholly recommend you writing this list down on a piece of paper, on your iPod, mobile phone.. Anything that is convenient and won’t be lost. What do you usually take to every game? Do you think this amount of items is really necessary? Leave your thoughts and comments below!