5 Nutrition Tips For Field Hockey Players

If you ever find that you get tired or feel fatigued before the end of a game, it could have something to do with your nutrition.

Most people don’t realise how much nutrition can effect your performance on the field.

And no it is not about dieting, in fact eating for hockey is different to eating for weight loss or muscle mass.brain eating

The process of digestion is run on autopilot by the unconscious part of the brain just like the process of decision making, so feeding your brain the wrong fuel can affect your decisions on the field.

If you eat too soon before a game, your body and brain will still be focussing on the process of digesting your food, rather than focussing on what’s happening in the game.

Not eating enough before games or having the wrong balance of foods could affect your energy levels, leaving you feeling tired before the end of the game.

I get asked so many questions about nutrition and although a lot of people think they understand nutrition, there is never a simple answer to the typical questions I get because it depends on many factors.

A few factors to consider: watermelon2

  • What to eat & when
  • How much / portion size
  • How much of each food group
  • Pre-game vs post game
  • What you need for your age, height, weight
  • The level of activity you doing
  • What your goal is
  • What foods you like
  • Your schedule (it has to be realistic)

Nutrition is one of the many aspects that I teach in my Mentorship Program so that players can get a better understanding and personalised advice for exactly what they need.

I have included a few basic guidelines below:

My 5 Nutrition Tips For Field Hockey Players:

#1 – Start the day well

Too many players skip breakfast or don’t have a good meal to start the day. Don’t skip meals, try to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day by eating every 3-4 hours.

Cereals are not the best meals for sports people as they often contain high levels of sugar which can cause drops in energy levels and cravings later on in the day. Even those so called “health cereals” like muesli – check the labels for sugar content.

Eggs are a good source of protein and would be a better breakfast option (yes wake up just 5 minutes earlier).

# 2 – Eat enough protein

One of the biggest problems that I find with my clients is that they don’t eat enough protein throughout the day. When you play sport and train you are putting additional stress on your body so you need more protein than the average person. Make sure you include lean protein in your diet.paleo diet

#3 – Consider meal timings

It is important that you plan your meals ahead of time so that you have the right ingredients in the house and don’t get tempted to eat the junk which is always more convenient.

You should be eating a good balanced meal 2-3 hours before training/games so work backwards to plan your meals and specify what time you need to eat.

#4 – Refuel

It is really important that you are refuelling after your activity whether it’s a training session, gym session or a game. The general guideline is to try consume something that is high in protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of finishing.

healthy lifestyleIt can take your body up to 48 hours to repair from intense activity so it is important that you refuel to prevent overtraining and it also ensures that you don’t lose muscle.

#5 – Ensure you are eating enough

Nutrition is a vital component of recovery. I often find that players don’t eat enough of the right foods. Not all calories are equal and most junk food is empty calories which offer very little (if any) value to your body.

I am not saying don’t eat junk food (as long as it’s not every day), but make sure you are getting enough nutritious calories for the amount of activity you are doing. This is something that I help my Mentorship clients with using a more personalised and realistic approach.

To learn more about nutrition for sport and what you can do to improve your hockey performance, check out:

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About The Author

Lauren Penny

Lauren is a former International Hockey Player, Performance Coach & Mentor specialising in helping hockey players to be more confident, improve their fitness and perform more consistently to get noticed and reach higher teams.

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