At a recent medical conference in Taiwan, we heard about a study comparing the knowledge of nutrition held by professional, versus amateur, sportspeople. Now you’d think that a professional athlete would have a greater interest in studying and following a high-performance diet than their club-level counterparts, right? We thought so too until we heard this:
So here’s the thing – there are Clubs and Coaches who clearly aren’t teaching their athletes at any level how to best support their training, recovery or performance through nutrition – probably because they don’t have the expertise or training – even though athletes at a professional level recognise a NEED to know this vital information! Clubs and Coaches seem to have dropped the ball in a big way on this, and we’ve also seen first-hand a massive lack of congruency in their messages.
On the one hand the Coaches exhort players and athletes to train harder, smarter and more scientifically, yet on match and event days the Clubs provide soft-drinks, booze, pies, savouries, chocolate, candy, hot dogs, burgers and fries – and at amateur levels we’re encouraged to support fund-raising initiatives through the sale of soft-drinks, hot-dogs and cheese rolls. Seriously?
But worse yet, the research showed that athletes themselves blindly eat and drink this as if they have no minds or will of their own, blaming their own poor choices on the Clubs and Families for not putting healthier food on the table. For people supposedly trained in mental toughness techniques, that’s amazingly weak.
This isn’t just about sports and performance – although the link between poor performance and bad nutrition is clear – this is about the long-term health and wellbeing of our brothers, sisters, husband’s, wives, partners, children and grandchildren.
People training for and playing sports at any level place a high demand on their bodies, and need a higher level of nutrition than the average Joe.
It’s time we ALL raised our efforts – and expectations – to achieve this…