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Make Sure Your Players Have Ample Energy-Part 1 Hire a Nutritionist

by Taylor Tollison

Sometimes we find youth athletes with low energy, low endurance, and muscle fatigue. All the homework, travel, practice, family activities and games start to add up. As parents and coaches what are some important things to look at to address these concerns.

One reason your child might be lagging is lack of a balanced diet that includes all the important nutrients needed to feel well and perform well. Soccer players need a diet that is high in carbohydrates to perform at their best. Nutrition education is a key part any coach should play. Here are some ways to properly educate your teams.

  • Work with your club to bring in a sports nutritionist to do a series of educational seminars for the parents. I suggest finding a nutritionist that specializes in sports and has experience working with soccer athletes. If you work with youth athletes make sure the sports nutritionist talks about youth specific topics and challenges.
  • The nutritionist should also talk about tournament eating. Many of these tournaments are used for college and probably professional scouts to look at the talent. We need players performing at their best. Because of the unique nature of tournaments ( so many games in so few days) request  the nutritionist talk on: how to eat on the road and optimize performance, how to deal with eating for so many games in just a few days and post match recovery eating. Anything less would be letting your playerís futures down. Some of these tournaments are very important. These are about more than winning and losing, they are also about paying for college.
  • At the end of the presentation allow the parents to ask questions.
  • Assign someone to take notes during the presentation, type it up, and distribute it via email to all the parents.  Keep the notes on file for future teams you coach.

Some parents canít afford to hire a nutritionist to deal with the individual athlete. One way to deal with this is to start with education from a qualified professional. Once the parent has the basic understanding of sports nutrition, itís up to the parent to try to cook the right foods. In the next article weíll deal more with energy and talk about what kinds of nutrients athletes should be eating to maximize their energy on the field.