Food for Fuel


Parents and coaches often wonder why certain players are lacking steam during the last period of a game or lagging in practice. There are plenty of reasons why a player may not be performing at their highest level. A long week of late night practices, games, homework and just not getting enough sleep can add up.

But one thing that is essential for a player to stay on top of is their daily nutrition-intake.

Lack of proper nutrition stacked on top of the work load hockey players have will inevitably lead to underperformance and fatigue. If a player has great explosive cardio for the first two periods of a game but gets tired in the last period, it’s not more cardio they need. They need to supplement their bodies with the right kind of foods at the right time of the day, every day.

Here are a few tips for players to ensure they are getting enough calories during the day to replenish from an intense week.

  1. Eat smaller, balanced meals throughout the day, approximately 3-4 hours apart.
  2. Be prepared: Plan your meals the day before.
  3. Eat natural, whole foods that provide proper vitamins and minerals.
  4. Drink at least 500ml of water between meals.
  5. Plan a larger meal approximately 2 and a half hours before a game or practice.
  6. Eat a very small meal about 15 minutes before a game or practice like a banana, yogurt, apple, or trail mix with nuts and raisins.
  7. Replenish with a larger meal 30 minutes after games or practices to give your body the nutrients it lost during intense physical activity.

Stay away from refined sugars and sports drinks before and during games; these will give you a spike in energy but you will drop off very fast. Avoid eating a large meal right before games or practices; your body doesn’t have enough time to digest food and you may feel sluggish. Preparation and education is key here. A lot of parents ask me to speak to their players about nutrition but it’s usually parents who do the grocery shopping and cook meals. Proper nutrition can be a meaningful goal for the whole family.

About The Author

Mike is the Founder of Dry-land Hockey Training and Creator of Explosive Hockey Speed. He's a top Strength Coach in the South Surrey area of British Columbia and has rapidly established himself as a leader in the community for specializing in off-ice hockey development. Mike prepares high level players in the off-season at the Major Midget and Junior level getting them ready for the CHL and NCAA. Mike is also a presenter and speaker on High Performance Hockey and in his spare time helps with the WHL Combine testing for the Okanagan Hockey Group. CONTINUE.

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