Thu 10 December 2015
Sport nutrition, diet or food and drink, for football players is becoming increasingly scientific and recognised for its importance in the game of football. This article covers the most important principles of sport nutrition for young players.
Why is sport nutrition or diet important in football?
Food provides us with energy for our muscles, brain and other organs. Football requires plenty of exercise, and therefore it is important to have energy available to us during the game. The energy available to us at any particular time depends on our blood sugar levels.
We want all of our players to attend every training session at our academies full of energy so they can train to their best of their ability.
If we over-eat, we become over-weight. The heavier we are, the more work our muscles have to do to take us the same distance. This reduces our stamina, and our ability to accelerate quickly.
If we under-eat, we can become weak and our overall health can decline, because we are not getting enough nutrients.
A healthy diet improves our general level of health, and can help us recover more quickly from injuries.
What to eat and when to eat it
The timing of the meals you consume is important.
You should consume foods such as: breakfast cereal with low fat milk, toast or bread with jam/honey, sandwiches with banana/honey/jam, pasta/rice with low fat sauce, muffins, baked potato, fruit, energy bars, and orange juice.
A snack high in carbohydrate may be eaten about 2 hours before the match or training, however the time reference is only a guideline as there are great individual differences in the ability to digest food.
It is a good idea for you to experiment with a variation of foods at different times before training sessions.
Foods such as toast, bread or crumpets with jam/honey, sweetened cereal and low fat milk, muffins, orange juice and jelly sweets could be consumed.
What’s best to drink?
For young footballers, we recommend just good old plain water.
When should I drink?
Ideally, it’s best to drink before, during and after a training session, as well as drinking frequently during a match or practise.
How much should I drink?
Only a little – but often. If you drink too much too quickly, you run the risk of getting a stomach upset.
Ultimately we want the best for our children, taking care of the details such as diet makes helps kids get into good habits from early on. It will also give children the correct fuel they need to be able to play football, whether its at one of our academy training sessions in Southall or a football match on a Sunday.