The effects of a ketogenic diet on athletes
Nutrition plays an essential role for an athletes’ performance and health. One of the nutrients athletes pay more attention to, are carbohydrates.
In team sports, coaches make a lot of decisions and some of them have an immediate impact on the efficiency of the game. It is about picking players who are going to be incumbent and those who aren’t, what game system is going to be used or what substitutions are going to be made according to what takes place during the match. There are some other decisions that apparently don’t have a direct influence in the game but can affect the action on the pitch. Coaches have to decide the training schedule, the travel plan of each match, when the post-match recovery is done, which food menu is preferred before and after a match or how to work with players who haven’t been called up.
In all these situations, the coach’s management of what to do in each scenario is key for a good environment in the squad.1,2 There is scientific evidence that proves the behaviour that has to be taken into account in order to improve the athletes’ well-being (wellness).3 Reducing tiredness or improving the best physiological state of players to compete, have a lot to do with developing the correct protocols for athletes. However, it is known that being in a positive mood has a huge influence on athletes’ performance (happiness).4,5,6
As an example, athletes have to compete more frequently, and they have to travel more during high-density competition periods. Being able to ensure proper rest to the players, is very important throughout the season. We know the number of sleeping hours and its quality is reduced after taking part in a match7. Sleeping the day before and after at the same location where it takes place, should be usual practise to ensure and guarantee the player’s rest. However, athletes choose to break their biological rhythm and accelerate the travel back home to arrive in the early morning, in order to sleep at home with their families. Another example which coaches come across is, it might not be a good idea to do the planned recovery routine post-match right after losing a game that has left bad feelings. It is possible that the consequences of doing what we had in mind are worse than leaving without doing so.
Recommendations which coaches and the technical staff can follow on how to react in these situations are:
Travelling back home the same day of the match, even though it is not the best option, it can be done in moments of the season where there are several days for players to recover between matches. In other moments of the season, it might be better to sleep before travelling back home.
In the end, it is not about being right or always imposing players measures which respond exclusively to personalized recommendations for them. Things are not that simple. Performance on the pitch also depends on what happens outside. Keeping the players happy is very important. It is about finding a balance between what is recommended and what the players prefer.
Carlos Lago Peñas
1 Buchheit, M. (2017). Houston, We Still Have a Problem. Int. J. Sports Physiol. Perform. 12, 1111–1114.
2 Calleja-González J, Terrados N, Martín-Acero R, Lago-Peñas C, Jukic I, Mielgo-Ayuso J, Marqués-Jiménez D, Delextrat A and Ostojic S (2018) Happiness vs. Wellness During the Recovery Process in High Performance Sport. Front. Physiol. 9:1598.
3 Kellmann, M. (2010). Preventing overtraining in athletes in high-intensity sports and stress/recovery monitoring. Scand. J. Med. Sci. Sports 20 (Suppl. 2), 95–102
Kimura, D. (2016). Work and life balance “if we are not happy both in work and out of work, we cannot provide happiness to others”. Front. Pediatr. 4, 9.
4 Olsson, L. E., Gärling, T., Ettema, D., Friman, M., and Fujii, S. (2013). Happiness and satisfaction with work commute. Soc. Indicators Res. 111, 255-263.
5 Totterdell, P. (1999). Mood scores: Mood and performance in professional cricketers. Br. J. Psychol. 90, 317–332
6 Fisher, C. D. (2010). Happiness at work. Int. J. Manage. Rev. 12, 384–412
7 Fullagar, H. H., Duffield, R., Skorski, S., White, D., Bloomfield, J., Kolling, S., et al. (2016). sleep, travel, and recovery responses of national footballers during and after long-haul international air travel. Int. J. Sports Physiol. Perform. 11, 86-95.
Mental abilities, although not yet fully appreciated, are already considered a relevant part of performance. But their importance could go beyond that: Do they also influence the injury risk, including recurrence, once the player returns to play?
Although several studies have tried to evaluate the characteristics of the risk of injury in handball players, they have been unable to reach sufficiently reliable conclusions. A new study of all the FC Barcelona handball categories has attempted to shed more light on the subject.
Although there are several studies on this topic, many of them have analyzed these demands by looking at just a few variables or using very broad timeframes. A new study completed by physical trainers from F.C. Barcelona has analyzed several of these details more closely.
An article published in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine —in which members of the club’s medical services participated— now suggests to consider the detailed structure of the area affected, and treating the extracellular matrix as an essential player in the prognosis of the injury.
In this article, Tim Gabbett and his team provide a user-friendly guide for practitioners when describing the general purpose of load management to coaches.
For the first time, it has been demonstrated that it does not take months of training to significantly improve both muscle volume and strength; instead, two weeks of an appropriate exercise are enough.
Training using eccentric exercises is important to prevent possible damage. However, intensive training can also cause muscle damage, so it is critical to be vigilant in order to keep injury risk to an absolute minimum.
Cardiovascular endurance manifests as a moderator of the load result to which the athlete is exposed.
Through the use of computer vision we can identify some shortcomings in the body orientation of players in different game situations.