There has been a remarkable growth in the popularity of racket sports including tennis, badminton, squash and racket ball. This has been matched by sportsmen focusing more attention on improving their performance particularly through physiology and nutrition in order to improve their fitness levels.
As a physical activity all the racket sports can be demanding offering both aerobic and anaerobic benefits. At times there will be a demand for a sustained high level heart rate and short bursts of energy, while all the way through your game demands will be placed on your muscle endurance and strength requirements. It’s a fact that playing racket sports will place heavy demands on all your muscles.
Playing any racket sport requires speed and stamina, along with agility and skill. They also require good flexibility, co-ordination, aerobic fitness, strength and a good mental ability, there is obviously a lot of room for physical improvement in most players of any racket sport.
Hence, you must not take your body for granted if you play regularly. It is even more important for you to be at your best health condition if you are into your sport seriously and into yourself even more. Whether you play racket sport to keep fit, participate regularly in an organised sporting activity, or are training to reach the peak level of your sport, good nutrition is an essential tool to help you perform at your best.
A healthy diet and body can clearly contribute to a player’s quest to reach peak performance. In short, what’s good for health is also generally good for your sport. A player’s overall dietary needs on and off the court are typically pretty straightforward.
If you have fuelled your body correctly then you have the best chance of performing to your best every time you are on court.
Every racket player should keep to a healthy eating plan meaning that they are eating small and often, say every 3 hours or so. This means that they are supplying their body with a steady supply of energy.
Diet before a Game
You should eat 3-4 hours before your game. Your meal should contain high carbohydrates, moderate amount of protein, and low fat food. Some examples of foods that satisfy above requirements are chicken (preferably grilled), wholemeal pasta and fruits.
One to two hours before your game, a small snack is best to take to avoid hunger during the time of the match. The snack can vary but the most common snack would be banana and water for hydration.
Diet during a Game
During the game, you use so much energy resulting to glycogen deposit depletion you need to be able to replenish the used-up glycogen by consuming complex carbohydrates. Sports drinks, banana sand energy bars are the most common.
Hydration is also essential during a racket sport game. It is important to drink water or sports drinks every 15 minutes if possible. This is important to replenish the water and electrolytes used up and lost through sweating.
Diet after the Game
With all the energy used up during the whole duration of the match, it is vital for players to recover afterwards. Most players are drained in terms of water, glycogen and electrolytes thus it is necessary to replenish all those lost nutrients and energy. So right after the match, players can start their recovery by drinking sports drink.
To effectively replenish the energy and nutrients lost during the match, a high-carbohydrate and high protein meal should be eaten. Again, this should happen within 2 hours after the match.
This entails consuming high-protein foods and high carbohydrates food and drinks. Examples of foods and drinks that are ideal to have after the matches include a high carbohydrate meal like rice, potatoes, etc. with a combination of lean meat for protein source. A natural sodium source food is also necessary like cheese.
Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to find the time to feed their body properly and would be helped by finding quality supplementation. One company with a renowned name in Racket Sport has specially designed a supplementation range specially for racket sports, namely DUNLOP. Dunlop Nutrition is the first range specifically developed to meet the needs of both pro and amateur players.