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What’s actually going to move the needle for your performance? Things you can do (or not do) that will genuinely translate into playing better footy. There’s a lot of noise out there surrounding performance ‘hacks’ and trends that come and go but these few things are the heavy hitters that are going to make all the difference.

1. Getting genuinely fit

Yes, being big and strong matters a lot in a contact sport but it’s your aerobic base that underpins every over physiological capacity we have; you can’t express your strength, power, or speed if you’re coughing up your guts. Rugby players often get this backwards.

2. Eating properly

The word properly will mean different things to different people so let me share my definition – eating in a way that has you fuelled for performance in the short term and with an appropriate body composition to perform based on the demands of you sport/position. Does this mean you can never eat carbs? – no. Does this mean you should only eat carbs? – no. It means to eat in a way so that you can move the way you need and have the energy resources to do it when you want.

3. Sleeping properly

This definition is a little more concrete. Sleep 8 hours every night and aim to rise and fall asleep at similar times. Simple – yes, easy – not always. This one really comes down to how you manage your life outside of training. If you’re up studying until 2am or having a disagreement with your partner, something needs to give; and if your on-field performance is your goal, don’t let it be your sleep.

None of those should come as a shock to you. I’d be worried if you didn’t realise those three things were fundamental to playing good footy. What might be new information is how critical they really are – you really shouldn’t worry about other things if these aren’t squared away.

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