This World Cup is a beast of a tournament, with 40 games over three days across two tracks, all under the same roof. Friday alone features 21 thirty minute games, starting at 10am and finishing at 8.30pm.
It’s both a physical and mental effort for all the players involved. Stefanie Mainey, skater with London Rollergirls and Team England, tells Beat Monkey what she does to prepare for such tournaments.
1) Take a head start
When it comes to a weekend tournament I like to make sure I’m as prepared as possible so my preparation for a tournament starts weeks beforehand. I make sure my normal exercise regime is really scaled back about a week before so I’m nice and fesh and ready to go.
2) Know your venue
I like to get as much information about the venue as possible. I like to make sure I know what kind of floor it is and ideally some advice on durometer as to what I need wheel wise. I always bring three down and three up on what is recommended, just in case.
Once there, if I can, I like to go to the venue beforehand to try out the floor. I also like to know things like where our changing room is, where the toilets are, where the nearest water fountain is, if there’s going to be food in the locker room and, if we have a warm up track, what time our warm up will be.
3) Eat properly
I like to make sure I have everything I need diet wise, so if I’m going to America for example I will order protein and recovery food and creatine. I just make sure I have everything I need to take with me and once I’m there I go to a health food shop to buy lots of healthy food. I make sure that I eat three hours before a game and that I don’t eat red meat within the twelve hours before a game. Also I drink at least three litres of water every day for at least a week before a game.
4) Check your kit
I always double check that I have both my uniform tops, my faovurite leggings and my second favourite leggings. I have three mouth guards, just in case, and tape, all my tools, spare bearings, spare trucks… spare everything I can get hold of, just in case something breaks.
5) Warm up
I like to do an off-skates warm up probably 40 minutes before a game that lasts about twenty minutes. We’ll do some speed, agility and ladder drills and the last ten minutes is stretching. If you don’t do an off skates warm up you spend the first half of your game warming up, that’s why a lot of teams play better in the second half.
6) Prepare mentally
With regards to my mental preparation I like to be on my own and as relaxed as possible. I have a lot of team mates who like to be with each other and high energy, laughing and giggling, but I like to be on my own and think about what I’m going to do. I’ll visualise me getting through a pack or holding a jammer back and visualise me having a clear penalty sheet. Just doing lots of visualisations!
7) Compression pants
After a game, as soon as it’s finished and we’ve done our high fives and gone back to the changing room, I’ll have a protein shake then put my compression pants on, as well as continue to drink water. I go straight back to the hotel, take my compression pants off then I have a hot/cold shower – hot for ten seconds, cold for ten seconds – which I do on my legs so they remain fresh as possible. As soon as I’m out of the shower my compression pants go back on, I try and have a carb-y dinner then I sleep. In my compression pants!
8) Blow bubbles
I remember seeing a little documentary about the British cycling team and they have a little bubble of things that are in your control which you use to prepare mentally. So, if they’re going away for a tournament they do as many things as possible to feel as comfortable as possible, like bring a certain pillow that you really like or filling your HD full of favourite films, whatever you do to make ourselves feel comfortable before a game then you collect all those things to be ready before you go for a tournament.