Athletes are used to performing under pressure and in front of thousands of fans. We asked Founder Richard Brindley, what's it like being an Athlete and how to prepare for a competition.
HI, RICH! WHAT DOES YOUR TRAINING SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE?
I will train 4 days a week in the morning, normally around 1-2 hours – the days closer to a game are shorter but regardless of short or long; training is high intensity. Thursday is normally our day off for recovery. Short days but mentally & physically demanding.
WHAT WILL YOU DO POST-TRAINING?
As a team, we will sit down and have lunch at the training ground – Carbs & Protein! once I get home, I will rehydrate from the fluids lost during training and Zone Out, rest my body, read books etc.
WHAT HAPPENS BEHIND CLOSED DOORS IN TRAINING?
The Strength & Conditioning Coach will provide a daily plan for me, as soon as I wake up I must hydrate and take a urine test before 10am and then I weigh myself and write down the weight. Sometimes we have a team meeting with the manager to go through tactical stuff and then straight after that, It's S&C work (Strength & Conditioning) which is injury prevention work – involving the likes mobility, core, uppers and lower body work. Then it's time to train! our training is very specific and tactical play, we will work on things we need to strengthen, but also how we can beat our next opponent so it varies a lot around that.
After training, I will weigh myself again – which tells me how many litres I need to rehydrate. To finish the day, I will sometimes do an extra session in the gym working on additional bits and to wrap up the day I will receive treatment from the massage therapists as a part of my recovery.
WHAT DOES YOUR NUTRITIONAL DIET LOOK LIKE?
In the morning, I will always prioritise breakfast, I aim to get a lot of fibre intake and start drinking water. The S&C coach will work with our club chef on the type of food that is required post-training based on the length and intensity of the training session. This is where I will really load up on my Protein & Carbs, I often lose a couple of pounds every session. Then I will snack maybe once before dinner on healthy snack bars, fruit or yoghurt. At dinner time I often choose to have more Protein for recovery, I love Salmon! and then very rarely I will snack on similar snacks mentioned above before 9pm.
WHAT IT'S LIKE 24 HOURS BEFORE A GAME?
As soon as training is finished, I will make sure that I recharge and try to avoid exerting my energy on other tasks. I used to think about how I want to perform tomorrow, what I need to do – but I found myself overthinking. Now I make it a priority to Zone Out and switch off because I've already done the hard work in the week. I try to focus more on enjoying family time, read books, watch a movie...maybe even have a nice bubble bath and try to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep.
I CAN IMAGINE THE PRESSURE ON A GAME DAY IS A LOT, HOW DO YOU COPE WITH THAT FEELING?
Good music! and a little bit of laughter! – it releases tension. It's hard not to feel a little nervous as the atmosphere creates a little bit of suspense, but I see pressure as a privilege and I always try to remove any doubts and go into every game with confidence. I tell myself to enjoy it and work hard and then the performance kind of takes care of itself from there. It's very much a mental game.
WHEN YOU LOOK BACK AT YOUR WEEK PREPARING FOR AN EVENT, WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 IMPORTANT THINGS FOR YOU?
Mentality, Nutrition and Sleep. My mental process is what motivates me to push every week and get the most out of my physical performance. I am expected to train how I play in a game, so it's 100% every day and getting the right sources of intake gives me the energy needed to achieve this. Sleep is so underrated, but my quality of sleep reduced my fatigue and allows my body to fully recover.
IT SOUNDS LIKE A HIGH DEMAND TASK TO PERFORM WEEKLY – WHAT'S THE SECRET TO ACHIEVING THIS?
Application. You just show up every day and try to be the best you can be. I think having a great mentality is the most important tool.