Whether dribbling, dunking or running a fast break, basketball is a highly demanding sport that requires continuous bursts of energy. Success in the game depends upon staying sharp both physically and mentally. Fatigue can lead to poor performance and open up an athlete to injuries. Key components of basketball nutrition include selecting adequate carbohydrate sources and staying hydrated.

Basketball Hydration

Dehydration can exist before its symptoms of thirst, fatigue, headaches and muscle cramps occur. Fluid loses of only 1 to 2 percent of body weight, after just an hour of intense exercise, can impair performance and lead to dehydration. Good fluid choices for basketball players include water, 100 percent fruit juices and sports drinks. Alcoholic, carbonated and caffeinated beverages should be avoided.
Pre-Practice and Pre-Game Meals

Showing up on the court fueled is a priority. Each player should determine what works best for him during training rather than before a game. Eat a snack one to two hours or a meal two to three hours before practice or game time to allow for digestion. Players should feel satisfied, but not stuffed. Select easy to digest carbohydrate snacks: bagels, bananas or 100 percent fruit juice. Fill 2/3 of the plate with carbohydrates and 1/3 with lean protein for pre-game meals. Avoid greasy, high fat foods. Drink 16 oz of cool fluids two hours before play. Drink 4 to 8 oz 30 minutes before play to maintain hydration.
Game Time

During the game, players can stay hydrated by drinking 4 to 8 oz every 15 to 20 minutes. As a general rule, most people consume 1 oz of fluid with each gulp they drink. Sports drinks are ideal since they provide both fluid and carbohydrates.

Recovery Nutrition Plan

Refueling is important after basketball. Following guidelines can promote faster recovery in players. Divide body weight by two to determine the grams of carbohydrates to consume within 30 minutes of play. For instance, a 150 lb player would require 75 g of carbohydrates from food and fluids. Combine carbohydrates with a small amount of protein. Select salty foods or beverages if prone to muscle cramps. Continue the recovery process with a balanced meal containing carbohydrate rich foods one to two hours after play

Nutrition for a Young Basketball Player.

Benefits of Protein.

Pre, During & Post Game Nutritional Advice.