A player's stomach can be a big factor going into a game or practice. What players put in their stomachs hours before a game can make a big difference in game time energy and performance. If, during a game, players find themselves:
- Feeling sluggish
- Experiencing muscle cramps
- Getting nauseous
- Feeling lightheaded
- Running out of energy
- Playing at a lower level than previous games
Then, eating the right types of foods and at the right times may be factors. It takes time for the human body to convert food into energy, so a quick snack just before a game will have little impact. However, a healthy meal, eaten several hours before, may have a large impact on performance. Players should:
- Eat a healthy meal 3-6 hours before a game.
- Eat a light snack 1-2 hours before a game.
- Drink plenty of water.
Players should avoid:
- Foods or drinks with high sugar or caffeine content to avoid the energy highs and lows that follow.
- Greasy or starchy foods (most fast food).
- Foods or drinks that can make you nauseous such as citrus drinks or milk.
A little "stomach planning" before a game can have a big impact at the game. When a player is in the car on the way to a competition, it is just too late to prepare the body with the energy it will require.