It’s not just the match that should fire you up!


Nutrition - An Introduction.



So the adrenaline is pumping and you are ready to start the game! You have prepared both mentally and physically but all is not what it should be! You don’t have the energy! 



In most sports and football is no exception, various demands will be put on you that require energy production. It is not only just about the game itself but also the training that the modern game requires, which means that you have to pay particular attention to your diet. Depending on the level you play or your match schedule this can become increasingly important.


Just exactly what nutrition are you giving your body to allow it to perform to the maximum?


From experience this subject is not given enough attention at the semi-pro or youth levels of football. Too often it is taken for granted that players are looking after their own interests therefore little time is given to the education of good dietary practices. When a player or the team suddenly lacks the energy to perform to their normal standard the answer is often more training and exercising forgetting that other factors could be causing the problem.


Almost every professional club will have a nutritionist or similar expert for their team. Sport nutrition, diet or food and drink, for football players is becoming increasingly scientific and recognised for its importance in the game but you do not have to be an expert on the subject, you just need to know some of the basic principles of what is good and what is bad and when you should take the correct nutrients that will give you the energy when you need it.


This article is an introduction to some of those principles of sport nutrition.


At coaching sessions; attention is given too many other areas to ensure that all goalkeepers become aware and practise good habits. That includes education on how the body works and what should be done to maximise the goalkeepers performance. Nutrition has been one key area that is covered and monitored so that I can push my goalkeepers to their limits knowing that they will not suffer strain or weakness due to poor preparation. Coaching ‘outside the box’ will continue to be a focus so that I can offer an all-round coaching programme.


Now I am not advocating, especially to younger goalkeepers, that you have to have a strict regime on what intake you have, even those in the professional game like some of the ‘tasty snacks’ and ‘junk food’, even a doughnut! It’s how often and for what purpose it is eaten that counts. If that’s your main diet it will have its future consequences. The importance of the correct balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein is what you have to monitor.


Goalkeeper’s today play a much different role and are more involved in the game. Don’t think for one moment that just because you do not cover as much ground during the match that you are different. You are still subject to explosive moments, endurance, agility and the need to produce power differently to your team-mates. That takes energy and that means you should have the same considerations towards your diet.


A good diet when performing any sport that drains energy is important to ensure you keep healthy and avoid injuries. Remember you will probably play for fewer years than the years you live. Why ruin them because you did not look after your body properly.


While the typical diet for the general population is about 40% carbohydrate, 45% fat and 15% protein (this can change by country due to the types of foods popular within them, so I have given an example for the typical British population). The recommended dietary proportions for a football player are roughly 65% carbohydrate, 20% fat and 15% protein. So if you consider yourself as having a normal diet or that similar to the general population your intake of carbohydrates is too low and intake of fat is much too high.


For the younger readers lets be sure you understand the differences of the meaning of nutrition, dieting and dietary:


Nutrition: is the feeding of the body correctly with food and drink so that it can turn the intake into energy. Nutrients come from Carbohydrates, Fats, Protein, Minerals, Vitamins and Water (although water does not produce energy).


Dieting: is weight reduction because you have not previously given the body the correct intakes and you therefore need to lose fat.


Dietary: is your normal intake and what this article is offering is information as to what types of food and drink to give the correct nutrition and when to take them so it will give you the best results for the energy you need to expend.


In the next part of this article on Nutrition I discuss food intake. Click Food or select from main menu.