Small changes that can make Indian hockey great again
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
Trying conditions: Bhubaneswar is known for its high humidity, and you can expect players to sweat a lot.