The Value of Nutrition and Sleep for Athletes

The value of nutrition and sleep for athletes may seem obvious.

But are coaches neglecting to emphasise their importance to their athletes?

In a recent interview, OzSwoosh Head Coach Rowe said growing athletes, particularly teenagers needed more sleep than most.

Dr Mubasher Fazal is a Sleep Specialist and interviewed the coach for his Lifestyle show aired in the U.S.

Coach Rowe indicated his recent decision to change early morning training times was to ensure athletes were getting a good rest.

He explained his average Academy athletes was between 17 and 22 y.o.

An age group where Dr Mobi said quality sleep was imperative.

Coach Rowe said several factors contribute to potential injury if not managed appropriately, one of them included lack of sleep.

The coach listed poor body movement fundaments, overuse / exertion (i.e. load management) and poor diet as other factors.

"If they're tired and not getting good sleep, then their decision making can wane, and that can result in injury," he said.

He described the importance of incorprating meditation and mindefulness in to a training regimen.

Explaining how some of his athletes had undertaken yoga and meditation of their own volition.

"There is what we call load management. So they don't manage their work load very well and they will do more than they need to.

"Then their body becomes fatigued and that is again where it can affect their lifestyle and cause risks of injuries and other factors."


Dietary Factors

Dr Mobi, also asked what impact diet plays on athletes.

Coach Rowe believed coaches may not be giving athletes this information particularly when it comes to tournament play.

"I am certainly not a nutritionist, " he said, " but those (tournament) situations are different and need to be managed differently when it comes to nutrition."

"What I tend to do is give my athletes before a tournament.

"A document that's produced here in Australia that actually tells them how they should manage eating through-out a tournament.

"To ensure they are replenishing the nutrients that they're losing, particularly staying hydrated, which is extremely important."

"When to eat is another issue, don't eat just before a game," he added.

"A couple of hours before a game and eating the correct foods, so carbohydrate loading before and after.

"Eating protein, or getting some protein to help replenish the muscles after play."

Coach Rowe also added the importance of managing the consumption of sports drinks and avoiding caffeine based energy drinks prior to or during game play.

The full interview is available on Lifestyle TV Channel US on youtube.

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