Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Top 5 nutrition tips for netballers
Netball consists of repetitive high-intensity movements, which makes it very demanding on the body. Nutrition can have a big impact on netball performance, especially if you are training/playing several times a week, and therefore it is important to get it right. Below are my top 5 nutrition tips for netballers:
1. Fuel the tank beforehand
The main source of fuel for your body during netball training and matches is carbohydrates. It is therefore important to make sure that you fuel up with carbohydrates beforehand. Eat a meal which contains carbohydrate 2-3 hours before training sessions/matches. You can also top this up with a high carbohydrate snack in the hour before starting. Foods containing carbohydrates include bread, pasta, bananas, rice, noodles, cereal bars.
2. Consider re-fuelling during
In high intensity training sessions that are >1 hour or during matches when you are playing the full game, consider refuelling throughout. Your body uses up your carbohydrate stores during exercise, so if you find that you tend to get tired or run out of energy towards the end of a session/match, consider having a high carbohydrate snack/drink mid-way through. Some practical examples that you could have are a banana, a sports drink or some sweets.
During netball, you will lose fluid as you sweat. The greater the intensity, the more you will sweat. It is important to begin training sessions/matches hydrated, and then to keep rehydrating throughout. You can check your hydration status by looking at the colour of your urine – the lighter the colour, the more hydrated you are.
4. Recovery is key
After you have finished a training session or match, make sure you have a recovery snack afterwards. You need to include carbohydrate to replace your energy stores, protein to help your muscles repair and fluid to rehydrate. A milk-based smoothie is great way to incorporate all three of these. Try to have this as soon as possible after finishing, especially if you are playing again within the next 12 hours.
5. Balanced meals
Make sure you include all of the main food groups in each of your meals (carbohydrate, protein and fat) – they are all important for your performance and you shouldn’t cut any of them out. You should also include lots of fruit and veg in your meals too because they contain many important vitamins and minerals for your body.
Authored by Caroline Tarnowski, Sports Nutritionist & PhD student at University of Birmingham | Scientist at Mysportscience
Caroline has also competed in the Vitality Netball Super League for Loughborough Lightning in the C/WD position so she has a unique insight into the demands of high level netball alongside her detailed understanding of sports nutrition.
To connect with Caroline via linked in, click 'here' and to get access to more nutrition knowledge visit the University of Birmingham sports nutrition instagram page, which is managed by Caroline, by clicking 'here'.