Small changes that can make In­dian hockey great again

Sportstar - - INDIAN PLAYGROUND - RYAN FER­NANDO

The In­dian play­ers do not have their diet and sports nutri­tion plan prop­erly charted out. Here are some tips to take In­dia to glo­ri­ous vic­tory.

Hockey. A sport that has brought In­dia the most num­ber of gold medals in the his­tory of the Olympics, though the last one was 3■ years ago. Has the game changed, or the req­ui­site skills? Have the abil­i­ties of the ath­letes be­come re­dun­dant, and tech­nol­ogy and the play­ing sur­face taken over? Ac­cord­ing to me, it’s the In­dian diet and a lack of dis­ci­pline, along with a lack of fo­cus on eat­ing for per­for­mance.

In the last 10 years, there has slowly been a re­al­i­sa­tion in In­dia that food plays an im­por­tant role in an ath­lete’s per­for­mance. I now have in­di­vid­ual hockey play­ers com­ing to me and ask­ing for cus­tomised sports nutri­tion ad­vice in a per­sonal ca­pac­ity. In team sports, in­di­vid­ual bril­liance as a few play­ers fo­cus on their diet and sup­ple­ments may not help lift a team’s per­for­mance to the best pos­si­ble lev­els. Here comes in the man­age­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that sports nutri­tion plan­ning is the key driver of the team win­ning.

The In­dian na­tional hockey team needs to be ready to take on the world in its own back­yard in Bhubaneswar. Our play­ers will have an ad­van­tage in terms of fa­mil­iar­ity with our own weather, our own wa­ter, our own food and play­ing con­di­tions. This is a strate­gic ad­van­tage over the other coun­tries par­tic­i­pat­ing. How­ever, the In­dian play­ers, to the best of my knowl­edge, do not have their diet and sports nutri­tion plan charted out. I wish to of­fer them some tips in this ar­ti­cle, hop­ing that small changes may help take In­dia to glo­ri­ous vic­tory in this World Cup. (Dis­claimer: It takes 1■0 days for a sports diet to work on ex­er­cise per­for­mance.)

Bhubaneswar, the host of this World Cup, is known for its high hu­mid­ity, and you can ex­pect play­ers to sweat a lot. The av­er­age hockey player in In­dia will lose any­where be­tween 1.5 and 4 litres of wa­ter de­pend­ing on his sweat rates. I sug­gest the play­ers weigh them­selves be­fore and af­ter prac­tice, and cal­cu­late the weight lost. This is the first thumb rule for re­plen­ish­ment of flu­ids dur­ing train­ing and matches. I also rec­om­mend an elec­trolyte blood test to mea­sure the loss of elec­trolytes. Once the play­ers have this data, it will be nice for them to have their own per­son­alised sports nutri­tion wa­ter bot­tle. This will en­able ex­act de­liv­ery of flu­ids to each player and a pre­dic­tive as­sess­ment of com­pli­ance of hy­drat­ing sci­en­tif­i­cally.

Car­bo­hy­drates are the pri­mary food source for any ath­lete. When a player prac­tices for three­four days and does not eat cor­rectly, there is bound to be com­plete de­ple­tion of glyco­gen re­sources — the main en­ergy bat­tery of an ath­lete — in the mus­cle. One sim­ple sports nutri­tion tip is

K. MURALI KU­MAR

Try­ing con­di­tions: Bhubaneswar is known for its high hu­mid­ity, and you can ex­pect play­ers to sweat a lot.

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