It is easy to see why the men of the world envy soccer players. Large salaries, fame, being fit and retiring comfortably at age 35 sounds like a dream come true, right? Here’s the thing, though, soccer players have to keep their bodies and minds in tip-top shape in order to perform at their best. What does a player’s day look like? While each club/player has their own little rituals, we have taken the liberty of jotting down some basics that most of them have in common.
We often hear that a body needs 8 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep in order to perform at the optimal level. Athletes take this very literally. There are no late parties or unreasonably early mornings for these folks. Forget coffee, power naps, and energy drinks – they are just replacements for the good, wholesome quality of a good nights’ rest.
Like any professional sportspersons, soccer players spend most of their day training. This includes practicing their kicks on the field, as well as hard-core training sessions at the gym. The training sessions are not there just to build muscle, trim the fat and improve the performance. One of the key characteristics of training is that soccer players use it to recover. Lying in bed for a week is okay if you’re an individual whose livelihood doesn’t depend on their body’s performance.
Recovery training sessions are lightweight for them and murder to everyone else. With breaks for eating, a light workout takes around 6 hours of their day. Every club heats things up before big sporting events, so you can expect 8 hours or more of training sessions a day. This, of course, is all balanced out to make sure the body doesn’t crash, at least not too early.
Baths and Massages
Exercises and games take a toll on the player’s bodies, the full effect of which is felt after they’ve retired. To patch themselves up, players take baths before and after their training sessions. Cold showers are used to reduce the swelling and soreness, while hot baths are there to relax the muscles.
A lot of strain and mental pressure would, naturally, cause anyone to be more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. This is why massages are also part of their daily ritual.
Food and Drinks
Proper diet is a must for soccer players. Except on very rare occasions, they are not allowed to go near simple sugar. Forget fast food and cakes, these athletes eat wholesome meals full of protein, for muscles, and complex carbs for energy. The trick is to have more meals in smaller portions for the optimal digestion. Loading up with carbs the day before the big match goes without saying.
As much as you’ll see football starts promoting a brand of soft drinks, know that they rarely, if ever touch the stuff. Water and tea are their main drinks, though it is not uncommon for some to drink coffee. Alcohol is, mostly, out of the question.
For some of us, leisure means sitting at a computer for 4 or 5 hours. For others, it is partying all night. For soccer players, however, these little hobbies happen very rarely. They use the hour or two they have left in their schedule to spend time with each other and their families, as well as their own publicists. After that, it’s off to bed at a more-than-reasonable time.