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Football Coaches Can Promote Efffective Nutrition Strategies

“Soccer coaches should be encouraged to promote positive nutritional awareness within their squads. A number of core guidelines from qualified nutritionists can help coaches to implement strategies within their squads which will help to support their training and competition quite effectively,” according to Dr. Tom Hill, Senior Lecturer in Food and Human Nutrition, University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK.

Pictured at the workshop for coaches of football players organised jointly by the Football Association of Ireland and The National Dairy Council (NDC) in Dublin today (8th July, 2011) as part of the ‘Milk it For All It’s Worth’ campaign, were, (L-R): Wendy Martinson OBE Bsc(Hons) PG Dip, Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist (RSEN); Paul Hamill, Education Manager, F.A.I.; Caroline O'Donovan, Nutritionist, National Dairy Council; and Dr. Tom Hill, Senior Lecturer in Food and Human Nutrition, University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

He was speaking at a workshop for coaches of football players organised jointly by the Football Association of Ireland and The National Dairy Council (NDC) in Dublin today (8th July, 2011). The workshop, organised as part of the ‘Milk it For All It’s Worth’ campaign, sets out to up-skill football coaches working with players of senior, intermediate and junior levels of football, providing practical nutritional advice which can help to improve sports performance to the best of each person’s ability.

Also speaking at the FAI & NDC event was Wendy Martinson OBE Bsc(Hons) PG Dip, Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist (RSEN) with extensive experience, including having worked previously as Consultant Sports Nutritionist with the England Football Squad & British Olympic Association.

“Good sports nutrition - and an understanding of ways to improve re-hydration and muscle recovery - can help athletes to train and compete harder and to recover more quickly, so that they are better able to take on their next training session or competition,” said Ms. Martinson.

She explained that the fuel requirement of footballers can vary depending on the position and level played,. Carbohydrate is the main fuel for the working muscle and so much of an palyers energy should be provided through carbohydrate rich foods to ensure muscle and liver glycogen stores are adequately stocked. Recovery strategies should ensure that carbohydrate foods are consumed quickly after training to replenish these stores.

It is beneficial if the recovery snack/drink contains some protein to facilitate the repair, growth and development of muscle tissue. Ideally the snack/drink should provide approximately 15-25g protein and at least 50g carbohydrate.

Replace What You Lose

“In order to train and compete effectively, and ultimately support your chances on match day, athletes must replace what is lost during previous exercise or activity sessions, in terms of de-hydration and helping your muscles to recover,” according to Dr. Catherine Logan, Nutrition Manager, National Dairy Council.

“Research is demonstrating a number of areas of sports nutrition in which milk and milk products can play a beneficial role. This is likely to be due to the fact that milk naturally contains nutrients and electrolytes which are fundamental to sports nutrition,” says Dr. Logan.

“This joint regional seminar is timely as more and more research demonstrates potential for milk and dairy foods in sports nutrition – for example research reported from Loughborough University highlights the effectiveness of skimmed milk as a re-hydration drink after sports, in addition to research from Northumbria University highlighting the beneficial role of milk in muscle recovery,” said Dr. Logan. “Such results are welcomed by the dairy industry and we are closely monitoring further developments in these areas of research.”

Match Day Preparation

According to Wendy Martinson, ‘Match Day’ preparation is also very important. “Ideally the pre match meal should contain a rich source of carbohydrate, be low in fat and low/moderate in protein and be consumed approximately 2-3 hours prior to kick off,” said Ms. Martinson.

“Players should also ensure they are well hydrated prior to the match and make sure their post match recovery strategy includes suitable fluids.”

Monitoring & Compliance

Dr Tom Hill, Senior Lecturer in Food and Human Nutrition, University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, said that ensuring that players eat and drink properly for peak performance can be a challenging task as it needs continuous player monitoring and compliance with the dietary interventions.

Dr. Hill explored two detailed player case studies including dietary provision taken from two anonymous Premier Division League of Ireland players from the 2009/2010 season.

The first case study related to a very experienced player who needed to lose body fat for his position and who had a continuous struggle with his weight before individual nutritional counseling. The second case study explored nutrition provision for a youths player who had recently broken into the senior squad and who needed to gain muscle mass.

Milk It For All It’s Worth is the theme of a three year EU funded ‘Milk in Action’ campaign, a collaborative venture between The National Dairy Council (Ireland) and The Dairy Council (England and Wales), who partner with The Dairy Council (Northern Ireland).

The “Milk In Action” programme in Ireland is co-funded by the European Union, The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, and by the industry with funds raised through NDC members in Ireland. The campaign is implemented under Council Regulation (EC) No 3/2008 on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries.

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References

  • Shirreffs SM et al. (2007) Milk as an effective rehydration drink. British Journal of Nutrition 98: 173-180.
  • Cockburn et al. (2008) Acute milk-based protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism 33; 775-783.


Background information about the two speakers follows.

Wendy Martinson OBE Bsc (Hons) PG Dip, Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist (RSEN)
Wendy Martinson is a Registered Dietitian & Sports Nutritionist. She has worked with a wide range of elite athletes including cyclists, rugby players and marathon runners and ranging from World Class Hockey to soccer teams - including West Ham united FC in 2002 and consultant to the England Football Squad in preparation for the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004. She has worked for the English National Ballet School and in 2006 was Consultant Sports Nutritionist for the Channel 4 programme ‘The Games.’

Previously Consultant Sports Nutritionist to the British Olympic Association, Wendy was also HQ Sports nutritionist for Team GB at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and worked as the HQ Nutritionist at the Barcelona holding camp prior to the Athens Olympics 2004.

Wendy Martinson is currently the Lead Nutritionist for the Great Britain Rowing Team and Middlesex Cricket and has been Consultant Sports Nutritionist for British Gymnastics for eight years. She is also doing some consultancy work for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the run up to 2012. She combines this with her role as a part time Clinical Nutrition Manager in the NHS and is a qualified group exercise instructor with 20 years teaching experience in the fitness industry. In the 2010 New Year Honours Wendy was awarded an OBE for services to sport and to nutrition.

Dr Tom Hill, Senior Lecturer in Food and Human Nutrition, University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK
Dr Tom Hill originally from Cork is a registered nutritionist and Senior Lecturer in Food and Human Nutrition at University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK. He has worked on diet and nutrition issues with players, athletes and teams across a range of sports including Munster and Leinster Rugby, Cork City Football Club and Cork GAA. He has also published numerous research articles and book chapters in human nutrition and one of his main research interests is the role of nutrition in musculoskeletal health. He has also played rugby for the University College Cork and is currently involved in coaching youth rugby.