Volleyball Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Volleyball Players
Whether you are a setter, hitter, libero or defensive specialist, in order to optimise your on-court performances, maintain your physical strength and boost your agility it is essential that you have a well planned nutritional programme in place.
Individual nutritional requirements will generally depend on the frequency and intensity of training, gender and physical size of the player.
As most volleyball players are on the tall side, height being such an advantage; and with voracious appetites to boot, this can add up to a significant amount of food!
Incidentally, younger athletes should build an adjustment for growth into their diet plans.
Research has shown that a growing young male athlete can have energy requirements of between 10,000 and 15,000kj per day!
Selecting the right kind of nutrition is important as it will enable you to optimise your performances both on-court and in training.
In order for you to reach peak condition for volleyball matches, a typical week’s training should ideally consist of at least three sessions focussing on court skills, technical drills, strategy, together with weights sessions designed to help build up strength, and also at least one competitive match.
Successful volleyball players require great strength, positioning, speed and agility because there is a preponderance of anaerobic jumping.
You also need to have excellent ball skills, footwork patterns, good body positioning and explosive jumping abilities… in fact some would say you need springs in your heels!
Before any activity, whether it be training or a competitive match, you should ideally consume a meal or a snack at least two hours beforehand and it should consist of foods that you eat regularly and have found to be easily digestible.
It also helps if the foods you select are ones you really enjoy as well!
It is not essential for you to stockpile your carbohydrate reserves pre-match because the level of aerobic activity involved in volleyball is fairly low and there is usually plenty of opportunity to eat and drink during training or a competitive match.
You should, however, remember to eat and drink at regular intervals to keep your energy fluid levels topped up.
Good sources of high carbohydrate include:
- Muesli bars
- Sports bars
- Natural yoghurt with fresh or dried fruit
- Rice pudding with fruit
- Jam sandwich
- Flavoured milkshake
- Fresh fruit smoothies
Nutrition during a match
As for eating and drinking during the course of a match, when it lasts only an hour, water should be sufficient to meet your needs.
However, if the match goes on any longer than this, a formulated sports drink maybe more beneficial as it delivers energy in the form of carbohydrate, fluids and salts lost through sweat.
If you feel the need for additional enery, you could also look to consume some of the familiar carbohydrate-rich choices listed above, as there is usually enough time to eat and drink during a match due to the rotation of the 12 players per side, six of whom are on court at any one time.
Post-match nutrition and recovery
After a match, exercise or training has been completed, it is always advisable for volleyball players to follow the correct recovery procedure as, in many instances; this stage is just as important as the initial preparation stages, especially during periods of intensive training or competition.
There are three golden rules to successful player rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:
Athletes should seek to replenish muscle glycogen after a match as this is a particularly important part of the refuelling process.
You should therefore make sure that you consume a carbihydrate based snack as soon as possible after play has finished, and follow this up with a larger meal which should contain a mix of both carbohydrate and protein.
If you want some idea of an initial recovery snack, then try one of these:
- Protein based cereal sports bar
- Chicken or tuna salad sandwich
- Fresh fruit smoothie
- Sports supplement drink
Hydration for volleyball players
It is of the utmost importance that you maintain good levels of hydration, you therefore need to keep topping up your fluid levels both during training and competition.
Staying adequately hydrated is essential for all athletes, particular during longer matches, extended training sessions and in hot weather.
Failure to do so can have serious consequences and can result in a loss of concentration, physical capability and therefore impair your ability to perform at the top of your game.
Water is a good general provider, however you might feel the need to supplement this with a formulated sports drink during warmer weather or if it is your nature to sweat heavily.
Such sports drinks will hydrate more effectively, replace salts lost from sweating and top-up flagging energy levels.
Want to get involved in volleyball?
If you’re not currently involved in volleyball and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to volleyball organisations that may be able to help you.
Want help with nutrition?
Get in touch now for more information about volleyball nutrition and the use of sports supplements to improve your speed, strength, fitness and endurance for better on-court performances. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.