Proper nutrition is a key part of a optimizing a player’s performance. Listed below are recommendations to help one choose foods that will increase the comfort and energy level of youth and adult athletes.
DAY BEFORE A GAME/TOURNAMENT
It is recommended that a dinner\supper the day before the game/tournament be that of a complex carbohydrate one (for a list of CC’s see below). This will provide the muscles with glycogen which is released through physical activity and helps in endurance due to a steady release/supply of energy
The day of the game, it is recommended to eat a hearty breakfast consisting of oatmeal, fruits, whole wheat breads, pancakes (easy on the syrup) at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours prior to the game for a morning game. Otherwise have the breakfast at your usual time.
Eat a light snack consisting of carbohydrates (fruit, pasta) about 1-1/2 hours prior to the practice/game. This will enable quick digestion, energy release to working muscles and will help in avoiding cramps.
Large/heavy meals before a practice/game will result in:
- not being able to run at full capacity
- tiredness/weighed down
- cramps and irritability
- possible vomiting
- and not being able to keep up
No chocolate bars, chips or ice cream. These will weigh down the athlete and not provide a boost of energy,
If games/practices are scheduled around mealtime, only have a small snack/energy bar on the way to the event. It is better to play on a slightly empty stomach and have a regular meal after the event.
DURING A GAME/TOURNAMENT
As the body needs to replenish lost fluid, it is recommended that water, fruit juices (not drinks or beverages) or a combination of both be used. Water goes directly to the working muscles and quenches thirst. Electrolytic drinks are ok during hot days and intense practices/games.
Eating between games is always tricky but not impossible. Try to stay away from chocolate, chips, meat sandwiches etc. as they require the body to work extremely hard in order to digest and makes one very thirsty. Foods that are easily digestible (fruits, cheese/peanut butter sandwiches) will provide muscles with a steady supply of energy.
(Short time between games, cut back to fruit, half a sandwich)
AFTER A GAME
Plenty of fluids (water, fruit juices) to replenish the body and a good hearty meal of whatever the player wishes ( the only exception is if the team makes it to a second day of play then you repeat the above recommendations).