Getting enough sleep and eating nutritious food sounds like a no-brainer but you would be surprised by how many athletes on a regular basis neglect to get a solid night of sleep and good nutrition. Your body is your machine. Just like a car, the higher quality fuel you provide the vehicle, the more efficiently it operates and holds up in the long term. As for sleep, a coach can see and detect even just a single night of poor sleep.
Some easy ways to ensure athletes are getting the nutrients they need is by making sure they have a plethora of healthy snack options readily available. High protein and low processed foods are ideal; nuts, fruit and the occasional protein bar are great options. Outside of these snacks, meals must be balanced and hydration is paramount as well.
When an athlete is running on little or no sleep, concentration is immediately impacted. A coach has to repeat basic directions and instructions throughout the session to the fatigued and distracted athlete. This not only frustrates the coach but compromises the value of the session.
Establishing a regular sleep cycle tends to be the more challenging obstacle to overcome, particularly for the college or student athlete. An athlete should aim to get a consistent 7-10 hours of sleep per night, closer to 10 if the athlete is doing double sessions or high intensity practice. Doing this on a regular schedule will also reduce the impact of a single night of poor sleep, should that happen.
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