Importance of a football player’s pregame routine

Jacob+Cazella+%28%E2%80%9823%29+mentally+prepares+for+football+games+by+listening+to+music+and+calming+his+mind.

Joseph Chiu

Jacob Cazella (‘23) mentally prepares for football games by listening to music and calming his mind.

Before a big football game, each player goes through their own pregame routine that is essential to them performing at the highest level and helping the body hold up with enough energy.

Football players must prepare for playing against each opposing team throughout the week both on and off the field. Film sessions are held each week, where players watch and analyze footage of opposing teams. 

“I learn keys on both sides of the ball. If you watch an offensive tackle, his stance will change if he’s pass or run blocking so I’ll know what’s coming. On offense, I have to read blocks and know who to block on certain plays,” said tight end and defensive end football player James Rothstein (‘23)

Players often take one to two hours of mental preparation before a game to perform well. The right mentality allows players to manage their stress throughout the game. 

“I’ll listen to some music but I’ll go watch some of the JV game if I can. I’ll typically throw on my headphones and just jam out for a little bit. I try to distract myself as much as possible,” said cornerback Jacob Cazella (‘23)

Cramps and heat-related injuries are typical in warmer temperatures while muscle strains and tears to the lower extremities are common in cold temperatures. Regardless of the situation, physically preparing the body will decrease the likelihood of injuries.   

“I usually try to give (athletes) a tape job that’s specific to their injury. (The most common are) the thumb spica or achilles tape job. Players like the feeling of tape and it’s cost-efficient for them. Taping also provides the support that they need throughout the game,” said athletic trainer Diana Hasenpflug.  

Carbo-loading is a common strategy performed the day before a game. This approach involves players eating a high-carbohydrate diet and reducing activity levels to provide additional energy for a game the following night.

For any athlete, maintaining good habits during the season is key to staying healthy and being available on the field for their team. 

“(Preparation includes) eating, hydrating, and staying healthy. I like to do yoga and stretching to loosen my body up, making sure I’m all flexible and injury-prevented,” said Rothstein. “I go get taped up, and once the national anthem rolls around, I’m locked in.”