This week I want to finish-up our series on Kelly Murphy, RD, who is a part of the Sting Soccer staff. Last week, we talked about health and nutrition and her background. Here, we talk about preparing for game time, common nutritional misnomers and how Kelly got involved with Sting.
It’s the night before the game, what should the Sting player eat/drink? Why? Morning of the game? Hour before? Five minutes before? Halftime? After the game?
The night before a game Sting player needs to make sure to eat carbs and fluids (in addition to vegetables and lean protein). Especially if they had practice, it is important to make sure to replace their glycogen stores (or stored energy).
Athletes first use the energy from food that they recently consumed and then their body starts to use their glycogen stores, which are stored carbohydrates. These stores are really important to replenish after practices and games.
It is also important to consume enough fluids because dehydration can greatly affect your play. You can monitor whether or not you have had enough based on the color of your urine (aim for really pale yellow).
A good meal a night before a game could be whole-wheat pasta with pasta sauce and turkey meatballs with a whole grain dinner roll and steamed broccoli.
The morning of the game it is important to eat. A lot of players do not like to eat the morning before an early game but you must – if this sounds familiar, find something that works for you – – like 100 percent fruit juice or a couple pieces of toast with jelly.
Getting in some carbohydrates will help increase your alertness and play. If your game isn’t until the afternoon, have a nice full breakfast like scrambled eggs, whole-wheat English
muffin with jelly or peanut butter, an orange and a water bottle.
One to two hours before a game, carbohydrates are again your go to snack (sense a theme?)… Grains, fruit or yogurt are all options. Don’t forget water.
Five minutes before you play try to get in a sip of juice or bite of a granola bar to give you some starting energy after your hour warm-up.
Half time is another time to get in fluids, carbs and electrolytes – – a cup of a sports drink or even some orange slices can help you out.
After the game try to eat within 30 minutes of finishing, it doesn’t have to be a huge meal but something with carbohydrates and protein like chocolate milk.
Generally speaking, what are some misnomers about nutrition and athletics?
One misnomer about nutrition for sport is that you need take a ton of supplements. As athletes your needs will be higher, you need more calories, which translates into carbohydrates, fat and protein as well as vitamins and minerals. That being said, food, fortunately has all of those. Yes, large athletes sometimes find it difficult to meet their needs due to the quantity of food they must consume; however, most soccer players do not fall into that category.
In regards to protein supplements, most soccer players do not need more protein than they can consume on a daily basis; there will always be exceptions but since their intake should be primarily carbohydrates, there tend to be few who need protein supplements.
I do know some players are not hungry too often, and struggle to eat enough; for those players there are ways to increase the density of the food they eat so they can continue to eat a smaller quantity of food but still meet their nutrient needs. I can and have helped players with developing plans for this.
Another misnomer is that carbohydrates are bad for athletes. From all of the recommendations I have given so far, I’m sure you can tell that that is not the truth. Soccer players need carbohydrates because they are a fuel. Too many calories can be detrimental to anyone’s health let alone their performance but soccer players have higher needs, therefore need more food and carbohydrates than the average person.
How’d you get involved with Sting and what do you think of Sting?
I first got involved with Sting in November, 2013. I was looking to get involved with a soccer club. Being a dietitian and a former soccer player myself, I recognized the need and importance of nutrition for soccer players and was really looking to fill that need and use my knowledge to teach younger players.
I was able to start working with Sting in early December when I presented to the ETA (Sting’s Select Team). As Sting’s dietitian I provide complimentary presentations to the ETA (about three per year) and contribute a section to the monthly newsletter, to provide some information for Sting players and families.
Sting is great club. It definitely stands out from the many clubs here in Dallas. Being a Dallas transplant, I recognized Sting as having more to offer than other clubs including special programs like the ETA and special fitness and agility coaches working with the players.
Even in talking with one of my assistant coaches from college, who formerly coached at Texas State, she confirmed my thoughts by saying that Sting was the best club in Dallas. The soccer curriculum that the coaches follow is a well-developed plan, which I believe has proven itself in Sting’s success. I’m excited to be working with such a dedicated and strong group of coaches, players and soccer family and would love to be able to help aid in the continued success of the club.