From both studying sport psychology at school and personal experience. More important than anything is sticking to your routine. Naturally this is most crucial in the direct lead to the game (eg 30-60min prior). Whether it be listening to music, a stretch or a psych up routine, keeping it consistent from week to week will help put your frame of mind and body in a consistent place each week. A common mistake is to make major adjustments to this routine for ‘big games’. Your prep should be as similar as possible week to week. Players routines can be very different and are usually slowly developed over years of playing to account for not just ideal physical prep, but being psychologically ready to play. *Naturally whatever your / your teams routine, it should involve a through warm up to have your body ready for 100% intensity.
I have come full circle in my opinion on pre game carbs; from trialling for years low carb approaches, I’ve moved instead to ensuring full glycogen stores by topping up carbs in the lead up days to games. As much as it is the latest cool thing to be ‘keto’, the research with athletes simply isn’t there to back up any claims that keto has better performance than carb. A great read is Mark Bubbs work on this topic which sums up the research very well. For those who may be a bit more carb sensitive or trying to get leaner, I’d advise keeping your higher carb days around game day (eg. Day before and after)
Similar to the above. The research is very clearly in favour of enhanced performance using caffein pre game. I recommend a simple “no doze” 100mg-200mg tablet or two 20-30 min before play time. Those individuals who do not consume as much caffein through the week will have the best effects from caffeine as they will not be desensitised to the effect. I usually don’t recommend energy drinks or pre workouts as much due to the high GI sugar or additional ingredient crashes that could happen.