Up and down the country, millions of people enjoy playing sport on a regular basis. Whether it’s non-contact football at the park or a brief session of shooting hoops in your backyard, it’s a great way to get some exercise. But, what happens if you want to take your game a little further? Maybe you are an up-and-coming youngster who wishes to go further. Or, perhaps you are in your middle age, and returning to team sport for the first time in or a decade. Either way, it doesn’t matter. It is possible to develop your game, no matter how old or young you are. In this guide, we’re going to show you everything you need to know. https://flic.kr/p/qtNCEN Prepare to compete A lot of people play sport to win. However, this is where your problem might lie to begin with. Don’t play to win – or lose. Play to compete. If you can start doing that, you will be a lot more focused about giving your best every time you walk out onto the pitch or court. If you have given your all at the end of the game, then you can go home happy – regardless of whether you were victorious or not. In any sport, the only person you have to beat is yourself. Give it a try, and we can almost guarantee you will start to see better results in your game. The psychology of sport is often spoken about in the professional game, but there’s no reason you can’t use it at an amateur level. Eat better food If you really want to improve your game, improve your diet. You will start losing weight as soon as you begin to eat the right food. And, it will help you take in all the nutrition you need to perform at your peak and recover afterwards. Steer clear of sugar and candy, and start eating more fruit and vegetables instead. Up your protein levels a little to promote more muscle growth when you workout – more on which later. And, start thinking about eating smaller meals more often. It can give your metabolism a real boost when you eat six small meals rather than three large ones every day. Finally, start drinking more water. This is important to keep your body functioning well – and not just while you are playing a sport or working out. Don’t just play sport If you want to get better at any sport, you’ll need to do a lot of work outside of the pitch or court. Make sure that you are often exercising – at least three times a week. And, mix up those exercises. We’ve all heard about the problems of missing leg day, but you need to apply that theory to every area of your fitness. Work on your strength and your cardio. If you play football or soccer, work on your explosive power with plyometrics training. Develop your core, too. It’s the building block for any fitness regime, and it will help give you the strength you need to compete. Specialist exercises You should also focus on specialized workouts for your sport of choice. If you play soccer, for example, spend some time with the ball at your feet, dribbling around cones. It will help develop your muscle memory and make it so much easier when you play in a competitive match. You can even do this for sports like golf. There are specific training programs that can help you build up your muscles to perfect your game. Check out https://atthetee.com/golf-fitness for a good example. Drills are good for any sport. Doing that same action, over and over again, pays off big time. https://flic.kr/p/btapg1 Warm up and warm down Make sure that you warm up before you play any sport – or do any training. If you want your body to react in the right way, it needs priming before heading into battle. A simple jog, and slow, smooth stretches will set you up for more intense exercises. Build it up slowly, and by the time kickoff arrives, your body will be ready – and you will be chomping at the bit. Don’t forget to warm down afterwards, too. It will help your body come back down to earth, and ease your recovery. Do regular stretches Stretching has some benefits that you can’t afford to miss when you play any sport. It helps your body stay flexible, and increase the blood flow to your muscles. Regarding performance, this can give you an extra 5% that you need to get to grips with the competition. You could also try yoga – many top sports stars and some of the fittest people in the world swear by it. Check here for more details – http://www.muscleandfitness.com/. Learn more Playing sport is fun, of course. But, if you want to improve your game, then start thinking about learning more. Look at tactics and techniques. Is there a better way of doing something, that you could introduce to your game? There are hundreds – if not thousands – of instructional videos out there that will run through different plays with you. If you want to excel, these little tips can help you make the difference. Even watching the movements of professional players can help. However, don’t rely on watching them on TV. To get a much better view of the game, always see as much sport as possible live. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the NY Giants or your local Sunday team. Play competitive sports If you spend your time playing with friends, think about competing in your sport properly. There’s only so far you can push things when you play with friends, and you will always hold back. You will learn so much more by being in a competitive environment. Not only from the opposition, but from your team, too. Plus, of course, you might be willing to push your body just that little bit more than you would in a friendlier environment. And there you have it – use these tips, and you will improve your game! Good luck – and let us know how you get on.