Nutrition Game Plan: Team Sports
Athletes who participate in team sports such as soccer, field hockey, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, and football regularly use a combination of low and high-intensity effort over the course of the activity. Tennis players would also be included in this group. A combination of strength and endurance is required, these athletes need to fuel accordingly.
Nutritional Needs of Athletes Participating in Team Sports
In addition to specific calorie needs, approximate daily nutrient needs of weight-focused athletes are as follows:
- Carbohydrate: 5 to 8 grams per kilogram of body weight
- Protein: 1.4-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight
- Fat: 20-35% of total calories
Eating for Performance
Athletes who participate in team sports need to pay special attention to the way they eat throughout the year. During the preseason, extra calories and fluids are necessary to support additional or extended workout sessions. In season, strength and endurance need to be properly maintained. During the off-season, the diet may also need to be modified to avoid unintended weight gain if the activity will be significantly diminished.
Strategies For Game Day
Athletes should follow these tips for game day success.
- Eat a meal 3 to 4 hours before activity
- Stay hydrated (Refer to section 7 for more details)
- Come prepared – have snacks, water, and sports drinks packed
- Do not try new foods or beverages on game day to avoid the risk of stomach upset