Every summer teams from all over the country go to football camps. They load up in vans and have the time of their lives traveling with teammates and playing against other schools. It is a great way to really be seen by a lot of coaches but also get a lot of different ideas on how to be a better player. You’ll also never have more fun in your lives hanging out with teammates and friends. Enjoy it but at the same time really understand what type of an opportunity is in front of you. What I mean is that coaches are always looking for players and with scholarships so plentiful in football it is the easiest sport in college to get a full ride. Each D1 school can offer around 85 scholarships and when you compare that to basketball of 15 at a time then you start to see the difference. I bring this up because everything and anything can make a difference so it all should start with what you put into your body. Believe it or not, what you put into your body has a big impact on how good of a player you can develop into.
Here are some basic guidelines that will help you use foods as a weapon to make yourself a better player – both for the short-term and the long-term.
Protein, Carbs, Fluids
Protein is the single most important food that a young athlete can eat. Proteins build and keep muscle. With so much stress being put on your body you need to be able to heal and recover quickly. Proteins include fish, chicken, lean meats, eggs and even protein powders. For young athletes if you feel like eating a chicken breast is too heavy in between workouts then simply have a protein shake to give you the necessary protein.
Carbs are meant to provide the proper energy for your workouts because they will fuel your body. I always suggest eating oatmeal as much as possible in-between workouts but for meals at night try having some spaghetti or even pancakes. These foods all contain carbs to help create systems that will burn when you need them to. Fresh fruits are great also and so are vegetables. I’ve heard some coaches talk about making sure that fish is part of your diet because of the essential oils that it provides. It’s commonly believed that those oils will help your body recover.
You can’t drink enough fluids. If you are in the middle of 2 or 3 practices a day then it is key to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after every workout. Your body needs to be hydrated to work at its best. Don’t think you are showing off for a coach if you refuse a drink because you could be costing yourself a scholarship. Be smart and eat correctly and you’ll feel a ton better about your chances and you’ll notice a difference in your performance. What you eat is your fuel and you need every advantage. Lastly, make sure you are getting rest when it is presented. If you have a 2 hour break before another practice then get back to your room and sleep. Rest your body and by the 3rd and 4th day of camp you will still have plenty of energy while everyone else who took it for granted is sucking wind.