Science and Soccer

By Thomas Reilly; A. Mark Williams | Go to book overview

6

Nutrition

Don MacLaren

Introduction

Soccer may be considered an endurance sport, incorporating periods of intense exercise interspersed with lower levels of activity over 90 min. The estimated energy requirements for a soccer game embracing both casual recreational play and top-class professional games are between 21 and 73 kJ min−1 (5-17 kcal min−1) (Reilly, 1990). For a 70-kg player, the result could be the loss of approximately 100-200 g of carbohydrate. Since the body's stores of carbohydrate are limited (approximately 300-400 g), this loss is significant. If muscle stores of carbohydrate are not adequately replenished, subsequent performance will be impaired. The carbohydrate intake of elite soccer players is often inadequate and so the concentrations of carbohydrate in active muscle may become low.

The energy demands of soccer are such that there is likely to be a significant production of heat within the body. Even in cold conditions, considerable amounts of sweat are lost in an attempt to dissipate this heat, thus resulting in a degree of dehydration (Maughan, 1991). A mild degree of dehydration will impair skilled performance and affect strength, stamina and speed. An adequate fluid intake is necessary to offset the effects of dehydration.

Despite the fact that the major causes of fatigue for soccer players are the depletion of muscle glycogen stores and dehydration, players are forever looking for nutritional supplements to help improve their performance and aid recovery. Vitamins and minerals are the legal products that players may consider, although substances such as creatine, sodium bicarbonate, caffeine and alcohol will be briefly discussed.

In this chapter the nutritional requirements of soccer players are considered in terms of energy, carbohydrates, fluid intake and vitamins. A brief examination is also undertaken of some ergogenic substances. Where possible, references will be made to research in soccer, and recommendations stated for use before, during and after training or competition.


6.1Energy

6.1.1Sources of muscular energy

Human energy provides the basis for movement in all sports, and any successful performance depends on the ability of the athlete to produce the right amount at the right time. Sports differ in their energy requirements, and thus each sport imposes specific energy demands on the athlete. Soccer entails multiple sprints, yet is an endurance sport. Consequently the ability to generate energy rapidly as for a sprint is as necessary as the ability to generate sustained energy over the 90 min of a match.

-73-

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Science and Soccer
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • 1 - Introduction to Science and Soccer 1
  • Part 1 - Biology and Soccer 7
  • 2 - Functional Anatomy 9
  • 3 - Fitness Assessment 21
  • 4 - Physiology of Training 47
  • 5 - Motion Analysis and Physiological Demands 59
  • 6 - Nutrition 73
  • 7 - Different Populations 96
  • Part 2 - Biomechanics and Soccer Medicine 107
  • 8 - Biomechanics Applied to Soccer Skills 109
  • References 118
  • 9 - The Biomechanics of Soccer Surfaces and Equipment 120
  • 10 - Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation 136
  • 11 - Psychology and Injury in Soccer 148
  • 12 - Environmental Stress 165
  • Part 3 - Behavioural Science and Soccer 185
  • 13 - Coaching Science and Soccer 187
  • 14 - Skill Acquisition 198
  • 15 - Stress, Performance and Motivation Theory 214
  • References 227
  • 16 - Soccer Violence 230
  • Part 4 - Match Analysis 243
  • 17 - Notational Analysis 245
  • 18 - The Science of Match Analysis 265
  • 19 - Information Technology 276
  • References 283
  • Part 5 - Growth and Adolescence 285
  • 20 - Growth and Maturity Status of Young Soccer Players 287
  • 21 - Identifying Talented Players 307
  • Index 327
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