There’s an element of compulsion in the way many athletes prepare for game day. In the following passage from The General, Luke Hodge divulges not only his routine, but the importance he places on sticking to it.
I am an organised person and I particularly like to stick to a routine on the morning of game day. There’s a point where there is a changeover and I go from father and husband to football player. Lauren says she can tell whether I’m going to play well or not by my mood. Her theory is that I play well when I’m relaxed, but if something pops up unexpectedly in my routine, it puts me on edge and impacts my preparation. I know that behind the scenes Lauren, her parents and my mum do a lot of work to ensure this doesn’t happen. The in-laws and Mum regularly turn up on game morning to take the kids away for a couple of hours.
The regular routine starts with taking Chase in the pram to get coffees. Mid-morning I go for a run, which I find helps wake up the body. After a quick shower, I check again to make sure I’ve got all my gear, and then it’s into the car for the short drive around the corner to the local milk bar, where I get the same sandwich before every game. I don’t even have to order it now as they know what ‘the usual’ is: ham, carrot, avocado, cheese and a dash of mayonnaise on white bread. It gets consumed in the car along with another coffee as I drive to the ground, with music usually from the Wiggles or some other kids’ show playing on a DVD in the back seat.