Player Welfare

Effects of Alcohol on your Performance

  • Greater risk of muscle cramps: During exercise, your muscles burn sugar thereby producing lactic acid. Too much lactic acid leads to muscle fatigue and cramps. If you drink in the 24 hour period before a match the alcohol contributes to a bigger build-up of lactic acid and dramatically increases your risk of cramping.
  • Greater risk for injuries and complications: Alcohol increases the bleeding and swelling around soft tissue injuries (sprains, bruises, and cuts – the most common sports injuries) requiring a longer recovery period. Alcohol also masks pain, which may lead you to a delay in getting treatment

Hydration

Your body is made up of two-thirds water and when you exercise much is lost through sweating, breathing and talking. In warm weather you lose even more! Losing fluid can cause dehydration which leads to premature fatigue and reduced performance. When you sweat you lose both fluid and body salts, which further impacts on your ability to play as well as you can.

The recommendation for daily fluid consumption are 2 litres or 8 glasses. This can come from a combination of water, milk, juices, tea etc. For sports people, it is important that you meet, if not exceed these recommendations. Thirst is a poor indicator of dehydration. By this stage your performance could already be impaired.

See chart below for more info.

Eating for Training/Match

Pre-Match Meal: You should eat your pre-exercise meal between 2-4 hours before start time, to allow you to fuel appropriately. Your meal should be carbohydrate based to provide you with extra energy, include lean protein for muscle strength and contain little or no fat so that it is easily digested. You should include a drink too!

Examples include: pasta with tomato sauce, baked potato with beans, sandwiches with chicken/tuna/ham, porridge with fruit, toast with jam.

Pre Warm-up: In the hour before start time, you should eat easily digestible carbohydrate snacks to help maximise your energy stores. You may choose to drink a sports drink as an alternative. It is vital that you are taking on fluids at this time, so have your water bottle handy.

Examples Include: ripe bananas, oranges, jaffa cakes, jelly beans, sports drink.

During Match or Training: Take on fluids as often as possible during exercise to replace those lost. Do not wait until you are thirsty as you may well be dehydrated by this time.

Post Match or Training: After you have played a match or have been training your energy stores will be very low.It is vital that you begin re-fuelling immediately. The body can refuel most quickly in the first 30 minutes after you have finished exercise. Players should pack recovery snacks with their kit to allow refuelling to begin.

Examples Include: sandwiches with protein, fruit, yoghurt, yoghurt drink, cereal bars, sports drink.

It is important to follow up with a proper meal within 2 hours of exercise

General Advice on Nutrition

It is important to eat a healthy balanced diet day in, day out. This way you will ensure that your body is getting the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and importantly, the energy, it needs to stay healthy and meet the demands of training and matches. The following information is to help you make correct food choices.

Carbohydrates: