Nutrition plays a very key role in preparing athletes for practice and games as well as helping them recover afterwards. A solid nutrition plan prior to training helps to fuel muscles with energy as well as provide mental focus. Post training nutrition assists with muscle recovery that will allow you to be ready for the next practice or game.
Many youth sports typically involve a lot of stop and go movements, with repeated short bursts of explosive energy. These can be intermittent as with baseball and football, or they can be continuous and prolonged as with track, swimming, soccer, basketball and hockey. Performance can be improved through a focus on both aerobic training such as wind sprints, shuttle run and foot speed drills, as well as mechanical power exercises that involve simple explosive movements such as bench press, vertical jump, dead-lift and sprint exercises. Don’t leave out nutrition. Good food choices rich in complex carbohydrates, quality protein and key vitamins and minerals are critical to performance. You need to fuel your body before workouts and recover after. Nutrition is a key to both of these aspects. Combining all of these components can help a youth athlete measure their improvements as well make them better prepared to face the demands of their sport specific roles.
Because the physical demands for youth athletes are often unique to each sport, injuries can be particular to a sport and even to a specific position. For example, throwing motions create excessive workloads on shoulder muscles and joints, constant pivoting in basketball and the the skilled positions in football make ankles susceptible to to sprains, pulls and fractures, and any sport where explosive acceleration is required can result in various hamstring and calve muscle strains pulls and tears. Proper nutrition can play a role in injury prevention by increasing mental focus, as well as supporting healthy muscles, joints and bones. The following are some helpful tips to prevent serious injuries: