Even if you’ve had the exceptional training, what you put in your mouth prior to practice or a game can make or break your performance. Proper eating habits on game day are simply key to your success.
If, during a game, players find themselves:
- Feeling sluggish
- Experiencing muscle cramps
- Getting nauseous
- Feeling lightheaded
- Running out of energy
- Playing at a lower level than previous games
Then, eating the right types of foods and at the right times may be factors. It takes time for the human body to convert food into energy, so a quick snack just before a game will have little impact. However, a healthy meal, eaten several hours before, may have a large impact on performance. Players should:
- Eat a healthy meal 3-6 hours before a game.
- Eat a light snack 1-2 hours before a game.
- Drink plenty of water.
Players should avoid:
- Foods or drinks with high sugar or caffeine content to avoid the energy highs and lows that follow.
- Greasy or starchy foods (most fast food).
- Foods or drinks that can make you nauseous such as citrus drinks or milk.
A little “stomach planning” before a game can have a big impact at the game. When a player is in the car on the way to a competition, it is just too late to prepare the body with the energy it will require.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Sports Esteem for the above article.