Sport requirements: Softball combines power and anaerobic capacity. Depending on the requirements of the position you play, you may need to increase strength and power.
Breakfast: Don't skip breakfast, or you'll start your day at a deficit. You will feel sluggish most of the day, which may affect your practice. Your carbohydrate stores will be low, and you will not be able to perform well. Breakfast will boost your metabolism and fuel you throughout the day.
Pre-competition: For pre-competition snacks and meals, choose primarily carbohydrates. A little fat and protein are fine, but high-fat meals do not digest quickly or easily and can leave you feeling sluggish. If you are eating a carbohydrate meal allow three to five hours for a large meal to digest and two to three hours for a smaller meal to digest. You should try to eat two to three servings of foods that each contain about 15 grams of carbohydrates. Eat foods that will digest easily. Eat foods that will digest easily. Nerves may make it more difficult to digest pre-competition meals. Try these foods before practice before eating them prior to competition.
Competition: Drink a carbohydrate fluid-replacement drink between innings. This will ensure that you keep your energy levels up. Try to eat within two hours after competition. This will allow you to refuel your energy sources quickly.
Post-competition and practice: To recover from practice every day, you need to refuel your reserves. Eating high-carbohydrate foods within two hours after practice is the best refueling tactic. Try to eat 0.3 - 0.5 grams of carbohydrates for each pound of your body weight. This is also important to keep you fueled and ready to go on game days.
Drink up: Drinking fluids is extremely important for softball. Drink whenever possible during the game, and really fill up after the game. Drinking water will help you keep your coordination and performance level -- both diminish as you become dehydrated.
· Do not wait until you are thirsty to begin drinking. If you only drink when you are thirsty you will replace just 50 percent to 70 percent of your body's needs.
· Try to drink 4 to 6 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes during exercise to stay well-hydrated.
· For every pound of body weight lost when exercising, drink 2 cups of fluids.
· Avoid beverages containing caffeine -- they may have a diuretic effect, which can lead to dehydration.
· Fluid requirements: Softball players should drink 1 milliliter of fluid per calorie consumed to maintain average fluid levels. For example, with a 3000 calorie diet, drink 3000 milliliters of fluids (30 milliliters = 1 ounce). To calculate into ounces: Divide 3000 milliliters by 30 = 100 ounces of fluids. Hazards: Dehydration is the main hazard to watch for in softball.
Basic Nutritional Guidelines
The goals of nutritional care for athletes are simple and straightforward. For the most part, nutritional care should:
The best eating habits for the athlete may be as follows:
- ensure that athletes are properly hydrated during periods of active training and competition.
- provide adequate calories to meet growth and development needs, if in youth and adolescent years, and the extra needs of the physical activity
- supply nutrients from food
- instill sound nutrition principles and practices that will last a lifetime.
Diet and training work together:
- Design a meal pattern that fits your daily cycle. Plan to eat several times a day using regularly spaced meals and snacks to help meet caloric and nutrient needs.
- Eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (starches). Starchy foods such as pasta, breads, cereals, potatoes, corn, peas and others provide a major energy source to fuel your activities. These foods are also a source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Drink sufficient fluids to stay hydrated during training and competition periods - don't wait until you are thirsty to drink.
- Eat a diet that contains a variety of foods from breads and cereals; fruits; vegetables; meat and meat substitutes; and dairy foods. It is your best insurance for getting needed nutrients.
- Diet supplies the needed fuel sources and nutrients for physical activity.
- Training improves the body's use of fuel and enhances muscle glycogen storage.
- Eat lightly before an athletic competition.
- Eat complex carbohydrates, keep protein and fat intakes low since these slow digestion.
- Avoid bulky foods. They may stimulate bowel movements. Bulky foods include raw fruits and vegetables, dry beans and peas and popcorn.
- Avoid gas-forming foods such as vegetables from the cabbage family and cooked dry beans.
- Eat slowly and chew well.
- Drink water to be adequately hydrated. One suggestion is to drink 2 cups of cool water 1-2 hours before the event. Follow this by drinking 1 to 2 cups of fluid 15 minutes before the event.
- Avoid drastic changes in your normal diet routine immediately prior to competition. Some athletes prefer to use favorite foods which may give them a psychological edge.
- Consume carbohydrate-rich foods and beverages as soon as possible after competition. They will replenish glycogen stores quickly and get the athlete back into performance shape. Fruits, juices, high carbohydrate drinks and pop are examples.
- Replace fluids that have been lost. For every pound that is lost, drink 2 cups of fluids.
- Replace any potassium or sodium that has been lost during competition or training by using foods. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of potassium. Replace sodium by eating salty foods. If activity has exceeded 2 hours and is vigorous, a sports beverage will be helpful.
- Return to your normal high carbohydrate diet at your next meal.