Kids Soccer, The Importance of Soccer Nutrition

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Over the years Kids Soccer has exploded onto the sporting arena. More kids play soccer than any other sport in the world. As coaches and parents a lot of emphasis is placed on training methods and fitness. Without a shadow of a doubt theses areas are important, but the most important aspect of the game, nutrition is overlooked.

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Just a quick question before I dive into the importance of Nutrition. Would you drive your car when it was about to run out of petrol? A safe bet would be no. Then why do soccer players attend training or even a match on an empty stomach. If you coach a soccer team or even parent a soccer player, nutrition is crucial to peak performance. It’s not only crucial for performance but it’s a necessity for well being.

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Do you know what glycogen is? Kids that are playing soccer have no idea of what glycogen is. Do they really need to know what glycogen is? No they do not! However, coaches and parents should inform their players about the importance of a balanced diet that include high amounts of carbohydrates.

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Without going into too much scientific jargon, glycogen is a polysaccharide of glucose which more or less acts like energy storage. Glycogen is found in the muscles, liver and to some extent in the bloodstream. When taking part in a soccer match, the body uses this stored energy to convert it to glucose which is a form of energy. So what happens when the body, in particularly the muscles is lacking glycogen? The body cannot produce enough energy for your muscles to function properly. So inevitably your performance suffers and the risks of soft tissue injuries increase.

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So how do we maintain glycogen levels in our muscles? It’s simple, just eat food. Eating foods with high amounts of carbohydrates helps replenish the glycogen levels in your body. So when its time to compete in your soccer match, you are energized and ready to go. You should never starve yourself prior to training or a match because the body will start to utilize its glycogen bank. Make sure to deposit nutritious foods in the glycogen bank at regular intervals. Under no circumstance are you to fast before a big game or drink high energy drinks filled with sugars.

 

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