Monday, August 13, 2012

Nutrition for Volleyball

About Volleyball (Indoor court)


There are 6 players on court with up to 12 players per side in an elite Volleyball Squad.  This allows regular rotation of players as well as plenty of time to recover and refuel. Volleyball requires great strength and agility due to the predominance of anaerobic jumping and landing motions. Volleyball is a game of skill and accuracy where height is an advantage on court.

Competition Volleyball is played indoors on a wooden surface however also exists as an outdoor sport - beach volleyball.  Depending on the level of competition one game is 3 or 5 sets of 25 points, with the final set won with a 2 point advantage.  Each set may last anywhere from 20mins to half an hour. A typical week may consist of at least 3 training sessions focusing on court skills, plus weight sessions to build strength as well as one competition match.  Tournaments are held regularly where several games will be played in one day.

Training Diet

A general healthy eating pattern is the back bones of a fit and trim volleyball player. To maintain strength and agility a diet high in carbohydrate and protein spread across at least 6 meals and snacks is a typical eating pattern. 

Individual requirements will be determined by frequency of training, size of athlete and adjustment for growth in younger athletes and should be discussed with Sports Dietitian.

Players are often able to eat and drink during training and matches.  This can aid in replenishing carbohydrate stores and maintaining muscle mass.   Refuelling is vital after long training sessions and during tournaments.

Fluid Needs

Environmental conditions and individual sweat losses are the main determinants of fluid needs. Staying adequately hydrated is essential during longer games and hot weather to maintain a high level of concentration. It is important to maintain adequate hydration through regular fluid intake, and to replace any fluid debt accrued during training or a match. Water is a good option, although a sports drink required during lengthy competition/training . 

What Should I Eat Pre-Event?

A simple meal or snack should be consumed at least 2-3 hours prior to the start of activity and should be familiar to the individual.
Carbohydrate loading is not essential due to the low level of aerobic activity and available time to eat between or within a game or training session.  Eating regularly throughout tournaments is important to remain fuelled up.  Typical high carbohydrate choices include:
  • milk drink or fruit smoothie
  • jam, honey or fruit sandwich
  • yoghurt and fruit
  • pudding
  • cereal or cereal based bars

What Should I Eat/Drink During Competition?

During a game lasting less than one hour water is appropriate. Familiar carbohydrate-rich choices may be consumed during a match of longer duration, but may not be required if a sports drink is used.  There is usually enough time to eat during a match (if required) due to the large number of substitutes allowed on the bench.

What About Recovery?

Replenishing muscle glycogen and minimising muscle damage is particularly important for Volleyball players. Recovery is important after both training and games. A snack within 30min post sport followed by a larger mixed meal of carbohydrate and protein after 3-4hour of competition/ training provides the necessary components for recovery. Some initial recovery snack suggestions include:
  • meat, fish or cheese sandwiches/roll.
  • fruit smoothie,
  • protein based cereal sports bar
  • recovery drink
  • 500ml milk

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