Effective Game Day Priming

In the world of sports performance, gaining that crucial edge can often make the difference between victory and defeat. This is where the concept of effective game-day priming comes into play. Athletes and coaches alike are always seeking ways to enhance their performance and optimize their preparation for the big match. In this article, we delve into the strategies, considerations, and common mistakes surrounding game-day priming to help you achieve the best results on the field.

Vince is a skilled High-Performance Manager with 20 years of experience in elite sports, including professional football and Olympic environments. He excels in organization, task prioritization, and delegation within team settings to ensure successful physical performance programs. He is a motivating leader who fosters individual excellence and teamwork towards common performance objectives. Vince’s diverse experience spans various sports and includes working with Olympic and Commonwealth medallists.

He is adept at strategic planning, budgeting, and staff supervision, and has a strong background in research. His research interests encompass areas like ergogenic aids, training stress management, neuromuscular and hormonal adaptations to exercise, and strength and conditioning in high-performance sports. Currently pursuing a Ph.D., Vince is focused on studying the effectiveness of beta-alanine supplementation.

Highlights of the episode:

  • What is resistance priming and how it’s used for game day performance
  • How to measure the effect of a priming session
  • Key considerations for resisted primer sessions such as training age, demands of the sport, and athlete preference
  • Common mistakes Strength & Conditioning staff make when programming a resisted primer session
  • The difference between isometric and isotonic primer sessions

Why Effective Game Day Priming Matters

Picture this scenario: it’s the day of the big game, and you want your athletes to be at the peak of their performance. Effective game day priming involves using resistance training techniques strategically to enhance their physical capabilities just before the game. The goal is to activate the muscles, improve power output, and prepare the body for the demands of the match ahead. This can translate into quicker sprints, higher jumps, and improved overall game performance.

Strategies for Optimizing Game Day Priming

When it comes to optimizing game day priming, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. Firstly, research indicates that priming tends to have the most significant impact on well-trained athletes. While developmental athletes might not experience the same benefits, those at a higher training level can harness the power of priming to boost their game.

Timing also plays a crucial role. Priming sessions are typically conducted anywhere from 6 to 32 hours before the game. Power-focused sessions, often centered around movements like squats or jump squats, are popular choices for these sessions. However, selecting movements that the athletes are comfortable with and well-equipped to perform is essential to avoid injury and maximize effectiveness.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As with any sports performance strategy, there are potential pitfalls that coaches and athletes should steer clear of. One common mistake is failing to adopt evidence-based approaches. With a lack of extensive research in this area, some individuals resort to guesswork or practices based solely on athlete feedback. While a certain level of experimentation can be valuable, it’s important to ground your priming techniques in scientific principles to achieve consistent and reliable results.

Another common error is overloading athletes with excessive weight during priming sessions. While the goal is to activate muscles and enhance power, going too heavy can lead to fatigue and potentially hinder performance on game day. Striking the right balance between challenging the muscles and preserving energy for the match is essential.

The Future of Game Day Priming

Game day priming is still a relatively young concept in the world of sports science. While research has primarily focused on jump performance and to some extent, repeated sprint running, there’s a growing interest in expanding the applications to different sports and performance metrics. As more coaches and athletes explore this strategy, we can expect to see a more diverse range of approaches and a deeper understanding of how to tailor priming techniques to specific sports and individual needs.

In conclusion, the concept of effective game-day priming holds immense potential for elevating athletic performance. By understanding the principles behind priming, optimizing timing and techniques, and avoiding common mistakes, athletes and coaches can tap into this strategy to enhance their game-day performance. As sports science continues to evolve, the future of game day priming looks promising, offering new ways to unlock peak performance on the field.


  • Factors Modulating the Priming Response to Resistance and Stretch-Shortening Cycle Exercise Stimuli
  • Resistance Priming to Enhance Neuromuscular Performance in Sport: Evidence, Potential Mechanisms and Directions for Future Research

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