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As your athlete prepares for fall tryouts, three areas of body-mind development are essential for maximum performance. While physical conditioning should be ongoing, nutrition and rest, prior to competing, are also critical to making the highest-level team. The following are a few tips on proper nutrition and rest intervals leading up to, arguably, the three or four most significant days of the hockey year.
Athlete nutrition is important throughout the year. Proper food intake in the days leading up to and during tryouts will provide the fuel necessary for peak performance. As we explain to our athletes: If you put one gallon of gas in the car and drive 15 miles a day, you will always have sufficient fuel. However, if you pump your single gallon and drive 40 miles, you will run out of gas. Tryouts are the equivalent of driving 40 miles. Children are as susceptible to energy fatigue as adults. They just tend to run on fumes longer than adults.
A week prior to tryouts, players should be eating adequate protein and a balanced diet. But in the few days prior to the beginning of the fall season, two areas should have increased concentration. First, a diet consisting of more complex carbohydrates should be instituted. Cereal, breads, pasta, potatoes and rice should become staples of every meal. Click HERE for a great article on nutrition prior to competition.
Second, proper hydration is also important to energy output. Beginning a week before tryouts, athletes should be getting a minimum of 50% of their bodyweight in water per day. Just drinking lots of water a day or two before tryouts may only leave the athlete bloated. A mixture of water and low sugar sports drink will provide the electrolytes and fluids the body needs for muscle and mental exertion. After every tryout performance, add a protein shake or chocolate milk to begin the recovery process for the next day.
Finally, sleep is essential to being prepared for the three or four days of exertion. For most players, tryouts begin Friday, September 1st. While all growing children should get a minimum of eight hours sleep per night, this is essential on the three or four nights prior to tryouts. Sleep from Monday through Wednesday nights is more important than on Thursday. We should assume that players will be a little nervous and prone to restless sleep on Thursday night. Sleeping well the nights before can offset one improper night’s sleep.
One additional note; skating two to three times per week in the weeks leading up to tryouts is optimum for performance. Trying to “get in shape” in two weeks will, most likely, leave a player short on energy to perform. At Tier 1 Athletic Performance, we have been training athletes for tryouts, and the following season, since the beginning of June. By using state of the art techniques to develop strength, explosiveness, core development, hand-eye coordination and balance, we have been preparing athletes to compete at their very best.
We hope this article has been helpful as you consider the 2016-2017 hockey season. Good Luck!!!
Don Lewis is the owner and Director of Operations for Tier 1 Athletic Performance. Don is well recognized for his 26 years of experience training and coaching youth athletics as well as his experience in managing/operating major health clubs.