Soccer is the most popular sport around the globe, although most people call it football. With the World Cup just around the corner, FIFA players and teams of various nationalities are preparing to bring their A game to this prestigious event. Here’s what any soccer team needs to know about being World Cup ready.

Staying Hydrated

Sports and sport training are hard work, so it’s no surprise that the World Cup has a history of seriously testing the bodies and minds of athletes. Preparing for the World Cup and the event itself will get any professional athlete to work up a sweat. Sweating is a great bodily function that helps the body cool down when it overheats, but that comes at a cost. When you sweat, your body expends valuable water content, and this can lead to dehydration if you fail to compensate for that loss. Hydration is one of the most ubiquitous problems in modern health. Many people just aren’t getting enough water, and athletics can compound that problem immensely. FIFA athletes can prioritize hydration by using a water softener to get the purest water possible, and the same can be implemented during the World Cup itself in many cases. To some extent, you can also use sports drinks to keep hydrated while also maintaining electrolytes, but this can have the drawbacks of detracting from maximum hydration, similar to hard water, and including sugar that can cause energy surges before an eventual crash. Water is the gold standard of hydration, and it should be a staple of any sporting event, so prioritizing it for an event such as the World Cup only makes sense.

Dietary Needs

Peak performance in the high stakes arena of the FIFA World Cup is an imperative, and that level of excellence depends on a diet that offers comprehensive nutrition to meet all of your body’s needs. As mentioned above, your body loses electrolytes as you sweat, and these minerals are essential for allowing your muscles to move. Sodium is an electrolyte that also aids in hydration by absorbing water. Another electrolyte is potassium, which is present in bananas and potatoes, among other foods. Protein and carbohydrates are the nutrients that your body tends to need in the greatest quantity, as they contribute to muscular integrity and energy, respectively. Protein from meat and dairy can be saddled with high fat content, leading many serious athletes to seek out purer protein content in the form of protein powder. Likewise, carbs are associated with weight gain. However, carbs are not a problem, in and of themselves. Complex carbs like those found in whole grains are a great way to give your body the energy you need, but simple carbs like those found in bread are absorbed into the body much more quickly. This is an issue because it allows much of that energy to go to waste and contributes to weight gain, instead. Choosing the right carbs is essential for meeting your energy needs without gaining excess weight that can slow you down during the World Cup.

Never Stop Training

Practice is essential for developing any skill, and that is only more true of a global competition like the World Cup. FIFA athletes are generally held to a higher standard than amateur teams to begin with, and the World Cup is the ultimate test of skill in the sport of soccer. This means that improving upon those skills should always remain a top priority. By design, the World Cup will make more losers than winners, so defying the odds and coming out on top can only be accomplished by outperforming the best the world has to offer.

The World Cup is the single most important and popular sporting event in the world, so preparing for it demands rigorous attention to detail and immense discipline. When it comes time to compete, there’s ultimately no shame in taking second place, because it is truly an honor to be included. However, striving for perfection and victory is a noble pursuit, and this guide can help you and your team approach excellence.