Things to Do Before a Rugby Game

Rugby
Prepare for your rugby game to ensure top performance. (Image: Tan Kian khoon/Hemera/Getty Images)

Rugby is a strenuous contact sport similar to American football, with two teams kicking, throwing and carrying the ball across the field in an attempt to score. Games last 80 minutes, and players require a significant amount of strength, speed and endurance on the field. Approaching your rugby game in the right frame of mind can keep your body healthy and help you bring your team to victory.

Rest

Training to be a rugby player can be intense and includes a massive amount of strength-building and endurance drills. However, giving yourself time to rest and gear up for your game is just as important as practicing your moves and building up your muscles. Mike McGurn of the "London Telegraph" stresses the importance of resting before a game. Get a good night's sleep of at least eight hours to ensure you'll have a bright start to your day and energy to sustain you during the match. Don't schedule any vigorous activity for the morning before an afternoon match; lay low and reserve your energy for later.

Nutrition

Finding the right balance of nutrition is an important thing to do before a rugby game. Eating too much or too heavy a meal before playing rugby can cause all of the usual gastrointestinal complaints, including cramping and gas. A good-sized, protein-based meal, such as eggs, fruit, cheese and yogurt early in the day provides you with the energy you'll need later as you're playing. Eat another snack or mini-meal about three hours before game time that includes carbohydrates that digest easily. Hydration is key when preparing for a rugby practice or match. The amount of energy you put forth during play, combined with a potentially hot day, can sap you of strength and fluids. Start drinking water early on game day and continue until match time.

Stretching

Warming up your muscles with a stretching routine prevents injuries during the game. The United Kingdom's Rugby Football Union suggests a 20- to 25-minute warm-up that includes low-intensity movement like jogging to raise your body temperature and loosen muscles, range of motion exercises to promote flexibility, footwork drills and a five-minute, high-intensity, full-contact drill to wrap up the warm-up session. Range of motion exercises can include head and neck rotations, shoulder shrugs, knee bends and leg lifts.

Gear

Prepare for the big game the night before by getting your gear together. Pack your bag with your jersey, socks, shoes, ball, a towel and a change of clothes for after the game. If you can buy a bag with a waterproof portion, you can store your muddy clothes there after the game.

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