Game Day with Jamie Hodgson
Have you ever wondered how a player prepares himself for Game Day? The pre-match homework, mental readiness and anticipation for 80 minutes of action.
Now you can, as we get the inside line from up and coming lock Jamie Hodgson, who discusses life as a pro rugby player and the 24-hour build-up to kick-off. This is his Game Day.
Jamie, you’ve left captain’s run and game day is tomorrow. What sort of preparation are you doing the night before a match?
"I'm mostly just trying to keep my feet up and stay relaxed. I'll look over my detail and finalise notes from throughout the week and be confident and happy with my week's preparation."
How important is sleep the night before a game, how many hours do you try and get and how much of a difference does it make to be in your own bed, as opposed to being in a hotel?
"Yeah, sleep is so important for any athlete. I try and get at least eight hours in the night before a match.
"It’s nice to be in the comfort of your own home before a game, but most of the hotel beds are really good to be fair and I usually get a great sleep. You’re usually pretty tired after a long day's travel post team run anyway."
How do you like to spend a morning of a match – do you have a lie in, a big breakfast – do you try and keep the feet up?
"I try and get a substantial breakfast in. Porridge, bacon, eggs, sausage, beans, and then I start getting hydrated.
"Then depending on when kick-off is, I’ll try and head back to bed for a bit. Most of the PRO14 kick-offs aren’t till 7.30 or 8pm, so it’s important to make sure you're firing later on."
How important is to keep your mind off the game on the day of the match. Do you spend time with your partner, the family, or do you like to be alone to prep?
"I wouldn’t say I have a strict game day routine when we're at home. So whether that’s with the family or my girlfriend, I like to stay relaxed and try keep my mind off the game or it can become a really long build up.
"I usually just watch some Netflix or TV and try and catch some of the earlier kick-offs before I leave for the stadium.
How early do you get to the ground – do you have any pre-match rituals as you prepare for the team meeting and warm-ups.
"I usually get to the ground two hours before the game and get strapped from the physios.
"I get to my spot in the changing room, get out my boots and other kit I’ve brought with me, so it’s nice and organised, ready to go.
"I then flick through the match programme, read over my key points I’ve written down the night before and listen to some music.
What sort of supplements do you have pre-match and what sort of drills are you doing in the pre-match warm-ups?
"Game day is about the only day of the week I don’t drink coffee as I try and stay off caffeine all day until before the warm up.
"All supplements I’d take pre game would be caffeine based to get me firing and ready to go. Whether that’s gels, drinks or chewing gum, it just depends what I feel like, I’m not strict with that.
"When we go through to the gym for pre match primer I like to stretch out a bit, we go through hurdles to get moving a bit and then get some sprints in."
Into kick-off. If you’re among the replacements, what is going through your head and how are you staying focussed? Are just awaiting the call from above to get warmed up?
"I suppose you're just watching the game, keeping an eye on what the opposition are doing, getting warm every 15 minutes and just waiting for that call to get ready.
"There’s been a few times where it’s been a shout of your name over to the bench, jacket and bib off and straight on. Which I actually don’t mind because you don’t overthink it."
Full-time. Do you have the same place in the changing room? What is the chat like after a win and do you get feedback from coaches straight away?
"When we head back in to the changing room, we usually all get together and coaches say a few things, but keep it brief and leave review to the following week.
"We sing our winning song and then it’s back to your spot, pull the strapping off and get the ice on.
"Someone usually chucks some music on and it’s a great feeling knowing all of the week's work has come together and we got the result alongside our mates."