To maximize their performance and stay healthy, I'd like to share some important tips to help them dominate this fall. There are a three critical components to performance at pre-season conditioning that I feel are often neglected.
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These components are:
Getting a solid night of sleep all through training camp is important because your body does the most healing and repairing from the previous day's activities at rest. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it's recommended that teenagers get about nine hours per night. If you are training in a "2 a day" camp make sure you get a 20- to 30-minute nap between sessions.
Being sleep-deprived can severely hamper your focus and concentration, which in turn, hampers overall performance and increases risk of injury. The body does most of its repair and recovery while at complete rest, so if you aren't making sleep a priority while in training, you're severely hampering your ability to perform at competitive levels.
Proper, basic nutrition is a constant area of weakness for many high school student. Most of their daily diets tend to consist of a day full of junk food snacks and a good dinner. No good.
Quality of food and proper meal timing are a cornerstone of championship-level performance. At the very least, eating a good breakfast an hour or two before practice can really explode energy levels and turbo-boost performance.
After-practice nutrition is also key. Having a recovery drink that consists of a two-to-one minimum ratio of carbs to protein can help recovery tremendously. Then a home-cooked dinner with lots of vegetables is a great way to end the day. Good in, good out. Eat lots of good, healthful foods to fuel up for peak performance.
To this day, I still can't believe some coaches still encourage players to go without water during hard practices. This is old school, ignorant and downright dangerous. Water isn't something an athlete earns, it is a necessary entitlement. An athlete can lose between 5 and 8 pounds of water during hard, physical activity.
We also know that sweat losses of as little as 2 percent of body weight (less than 3 pounds in a 150-pound athlete) can accelerate fatigue and slow recovery. In high-degree temperatures, dehydration can even be fatal.
An athlete should keep hydrated throughout a conditioning session with an electrolyte- and carbohydrate-enhanced drink like Gatorade, or Powerade as the sodium and potassium in these drinks help increase water retention, and the flavor encourages the athlete to drink more often. There are lower-sugar options as well as new hydration technologies evolving.
By training hard, and always considering these three bits of information, you are setting yourself up for success, and ensuring that you have the best shot at dominating this fall.
Chad Smith is a FTNS radio show host and co-owner of Home Team Fitness Training. Visit his blog, www.hometeamfitnessblog.com, or on Facebook www.facebook.com/hometeamfitness.