Tournament Guidelines for Athletes!
How to warm up for a tournament: If you can find a place to foam roll spend 20-30 seconds on each muscle group. Foam rolling at the least will help tell your mind to help your muscles relax a little bit. Go through a dynamic warm up, athletes this is what we do at the beginning of your sessions at GPA (knee pulls, lateral lunges, quad pulls, A-skip, etc.) You may have some nerves before the game find a place to sit close your eyes and breathe deep for a few minutes. You will be surprised how much that will help you focus ono the task ahead. The importance of using a dynamic warm up is to increase performance and reduce the risk of injury. You can’t play if you are hurt, scouts won’t recruit you if you don’t play!
The cool down is equally as important as the warm up. This is the time for static stretching when you hold the stretch for 1-2 minutes. Stretching after an event, game or workout promotes blood flow and helps recovery. The foam roller can also be used after the day is done to help down regulate your nervous system.
BEFORE GAME NUTRITION
Low fat food options, proteins and carbs are the best to eat before an event or multiple events. Low fat and low sugar protein bars are a good option. Also yogurt, apples, chocolate milk and bananas are good choices pre game. Definitely eat breakfast the day of the events, if breakfast is not possible eat a small snack 1-2 hours before the games.
IN GAME/DURING GAME NUTRITION
Staying hydrated is the most important factor nutrition wise during a game. Even if an athlete is playing indoors they can still lose critical amounts of water and minerals through sweating, leading to dehydration. Outside athletes are at an even greater risk for dehydration from intense heat keeping the body temperature elevated. Losing water and minerals is part of sweating, so making sure you start hydrating one to two days before the event. If an athlete starts the event poorly hydrated, they just play catch up from there. Dehydration can decrease performance, it will show greatly when multiple games are played. There has been debate about sports drinks versus water during the game. My personal opinion would be to sip on a sports drink throughout the game, but drink plenty of water as well. Fluid consumption would be around 2/3 water and 1/3 sports drink. My only use for the sports drink would be for the carbs that are in it. Many sports an athletes only has a short break so food is most likely not an option.
BETWEEN GAMES/BREAKS NUTRITION
When multiple games are played in a day or over a weekend proper nutrition becomes essential. I think there are two viable options as far as hydration is concerned. The first being an electrolyte tablet that is dropped in some water. They have the minerals that are lost while sweating (potassium, magnesium, zinc) Most sports drinks are under dosed or missing some of those minerals completely. Make sure you check the back of your sports drink before you buy it. There are some options with proper minerals and even coconut water to help stay hydrated. Lastly, food wise, I would avoid foods with high fat content. These foods can slow digestion of the carbs and protein the body needs after an event. Some good snacks to eat between games with short breaks are raisins, pretzels, potatoes, bagels with fruit spread and low fat chocolate milk. They all contain quick carbs and do not have a lot of fat in them.
AFTER GAME RECOVERY AND NUTRITION
The best recovery tool is so simple and easy yet many athletes fail to utilize it correctly. SLEEP is the best way for your body to recover. Combining sleep with stretching, eating enough calories and consuming enough fluids afterwards is priming your body to fully recover quicker. If you follow those four main points you will be so far ahead of the curve. Other stressors such as school/practice/social life, wont have such a detrimentally negative effect on your body.