Is your nutrition hockey-specific?
Posted by Dean Holden at March 2nd, 2013
By Kim McCullough, M.Sc, YCS, 21 February 2013
GAME WINNING NUTRITION is a hockey-specific nutrition manual focused on empowering athletes and parents with the information you need to take charge of your FUELING needs in order to maximize your performance on the ice! To get started taking your nutrition and game to the next level, go to www.totalfemalehockey.com/products/game_winning_nutrition. Kim McCullough, MSc, YCS, is an expert in the development of aspiring female hockey players. She is a former NCAA Division I captain at Dartmouth and played in the National Women’s Hockey League for six years. She is currently the Girls Hockey Director at the PEAC School for Elite Athletes in Toronto and is the Founder of Total Female Hockey.
If you are really serious about taking your game to the next level, it’s going to take a lot more than just working on your on-ice skills. Being a great hockey player is a critical piece of the puzzle, but it’s not enough. You need to take care of all the “little” things like getting stronger, faster and fitter off the ice, working on your mental game and paying attention to your nutrition.
For most young players, nutrition is merely an afterthought. And this is a big mistake. You can be a very skilled player, but if you aren’t properly fueled, you will never be able to move from good to great.
In the fast-paced and constantly-changing game of hockey, our nutrition is one of the few things we have complete control over. You can’t control what happens out on the ice, what your coach decides to do, what the refs do or don’t call or how good the other team is. But you can control what you do off the ice to put yourself in the best possible position to succeed – and nutrition is a huge part of your on-ice success.
Most of the nutrition information that is available falls short of meeting the specific needs of young hockey players. It is either adult-specific or for general athletes, but doesn’t address the critical areas that players need.
You need to know what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat so that you can perform your best every time you hit the ice. You need to know how much water you have to drink each day and understand why drinking any less than this could destroy your performance no matter how skilled you are. You need to know the secret to recovering quickly after games and how paying attention to your game-time nutrition will help you to perform your best during tournaments, playoffs and other key games. You need to know that making small changes to your diet is the biggest key to taking your performance to next level – and that these changes are quite simple.
I know that trying to keep the nutrition plan of a teenage child under control is virtually impossible. This is not about being restrictive – it’s about making better choices. You don’t need to avoid all junk food, eat only organic products or restrict your diet in order to be a great hockey player. You also don’t need to follow the latest and greatest diet trends to be healthy.
Taking your nutrition to the next level is actually quite simple – once you wade through all the misinformation that is out there. Nutrition can be a very touchy subject with young athletes – especially with girls, as comments and guidance can easily be misinterpreted with all the sensitivity about body image that bombards us in the daily media.
Knowing what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat it can be the difference between having a great game and a mediocre game. And in a game like hockey where one little mistake or one big break can happen at any second, you need to have every possible advantage you can find. Taking control of your nutrition will give you that advantage and allow you to perform your best game after game.
<For specific nutrition help, it is best to consult someone with a nutrition degree.>