What should I eat as a netballer?

The human body requires energy to maintain life and health. The main source from where we get this is from nutrients – basically what we eat and drink.

When we are physically active and playing or umpiring netball, we need to ensure that we are getting the correct amount and type of fuel needed to stop becoming fatigued. The body repairs itself on a daily basis every day of our lives, so we need to ensure we are putting the right things in our mouths for this to take place.

Nutrients fall into separate food groups:

Carbohydrate – provides fuel.

Protein – provides what we need for the growth and repair of cells.

Fat – used for insulation and energy, vital if you are to perform in netball at the top of your game.

Vitamins and Minerals – these are vital as your body as it can’t use carbohydrates without them. Your body is all about chemical reactions and without vitamins and minerals this process can’t take place.

Water and liquids – play a big part in keeping your body fit and ready for netball.

What to eat and drink before a netball game

Playing netball takes your body through all the energy systems and the sport is classed as aerobic exercise. The best food types for aerobic exercise are carbohydrates and fat.

There are many arguments on whether low or high glycaemic index (GI) foods, (seehttp://www.glycaemicindex.com) are better for optimum readiness for a game of netball. Netabllpost.com believes athletes, as netballers are, perform the same in a match situation whether they’ve eaten low or high glyaemic foods before a match

We suggest that you eat a meal at least 3 hours before a netball game to give your body enough time to digest your food properly and to feel comfortable. One hour before your game have a small snack such as a banana.

During the netball game

Keeping hydrated during a netball game is vital, whether you are inside or outside or playing in winter or summer you need to replace the fluid and essential salts lost through sweating. Drinking an isotonic drink during a game has been shown to delay the onset of fatigue and improve performance. Fluid loss is a major contributor to fatigue as the body constituted as 60% water. Water is the most readily available and will quench your thirst although it has been proven that an isotonic drink will help hydrate your body more quickly and effectively.

After a netball game

After playing or umpiring a netball game your muscles are more sensitive to the effects of insulin and are therefore more efficient in replacing the glycogen lost during the game. This period lasts for about 2 hours. As a guide, 15 minutes after the netball game have high GI foods such as an energy bar, cakes or even chocolate, after 15-45 minutes after the netball game eat medium GI food such as a sandwich and anything up to 2 hours after the netball game have a protein loaded meal such as lean meat such as chicken or fish.