Did you find yourself struggling to get through the long weekend of games at your most recent softball tournament? Many athletes are injured and worn down during a tournament because of poor nutrition. Since you could easily find yourself playing up to three or four games in a day, your nutrition needs to be as unique as your schedule. Use the following tips to keep energy and focus at maximum levels.
Many softball players get fatigued during tournaments, not because of poor food choices but due to dehydration. Most of us understand the need to drink more liquids and electrolytes to stay hydrated. But it is easy to overlook the fact that the sun steals bodily fluids from us at an extremely fast rate. So don't underestimate the need for sunblock and sunglasses, and stay in the shade whenever possible.
What's a good eating plan for game days? You need to be extra careful when planning meals for a softball tournament. (A mid-game snack helps too.)
Fried food. You never know how your body will react to greasy foods.
Pizza. You may have heard that "carb loading" improves performance, but dietitians recommend quality carb choices, not cheese pizza between games.
Caesar salad. A common mistake: you think you're being healthy with a salad, but look at what you put on it. Ceasar and ranch dressings are loaded with fat and can have the same effect as fried foods on your stomach.
High-fiber foods. Safer than the others, but foods such as oatmeal, bran cereal and rice and beans could possibly leave you feeling gassy and bloated.
High sugar foods. This one should be a no-brainer, because we all know what a "sugar crash" is. Eating donuts for breakfast is not a good pregame meal. Your energy might start out great, but by game two you'll be feeling flat as a pancake.
High calorie healthy breakfast. A few scrambled eggs, a serving of fruit, sliced potatoes and a big glass of water and/or orange juice will get you ready for game one.
Something light. For my players, I recommend a good-tasting meal replacement bar.
Real food whenever possible. During extended breaks, I make sure my players consume lean deli meat, hummus with pita bread, fresh fruit and plenty of water. I don't risk feeding them anything that will put them into a "food coma."
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