Nutrition for Junior Tennis Players
I already wrote about my first impression on how junior tennis players ate during tournaments or all day workouts at some tennis academies in the US. Then I understood the essence and power of the fast food industry, so I just try to oppose it in everyday life.
There is a proverb “A man is what he eats”. Success in tennis also depends on what a player eats.
I very often see in tournaments the same picture: during a break between matches, players eat junk food, like fast food and processed food, as well as drink soft beverages full of sugar. It is very rare to see a kid eating banana, plain yogurt, fat-free fish, or whole grain bread. More often than not it is hamburgers and fries.
A couple of words about nutrition during a day of a match. A player should eat breakfast 2-3 hours before the first match. Ideally in the morning you need to have light breakfast with high-carbohydrate foods, like cereal with fat-free milk, dried beans, whole grain bread with marmalade or honey, banana and so on.
Do not eat a big steak before a match. You do not want your organism wasting valuable energy on digesting heavy food when it should be preparing to play. Eat your heavy protein food the night before, but keep your eating light right before a tennis match.
The key is to plan your sports diet, be very intentional about your intake. Do not take whatever in your fridge. Plan your nutrition around your tournament and training schedule and fuel up properly.
Remember, the most delicious foods are often the most harmful for a young tennis player. Always try to make healthy food at home, and bring it with you to tournaments. It better prepares you for the next match, saves you time, money, and your health.
There is a good idea to have a food diary in your training notebook. For one-two weeks write down everything you eat and when you it. Also, note at several intervals during the day, how you feel. At the end of tracking period, look at your notes and analyze the effect of certain foods on your organism. Do you find any patterns? Based on your findings, decide which foods are good for your mind and body.
Your health is in your hands.