Eat Right! - A look at the demands on the modern Footballer.

To be a successful team you need the right manager and the right players. The players need to tra...

To be a successful team you need the right manager and the right players. The players need to train hard but at the same time look after their bodies by eating right and resting when possible. The Chelsea players demonstrate this on a daily basis.

A study has shown:

While the average distance covered by a top-class outfield player during a 90-minute match is over 10,000m, at an average speed of over 7km per hour, these figures do not accurately represent the full demands placed on a player. In addition to running, a player must jump, change direction, tackle, accelerate and decelerate, etc., and each of these individual tasks requires an energy input over and above that required simply to cover a similar distance at a constant speed.

As already mentioned, the physical demands of the game are sufficiently high to require a high rate of energy production. Whatever the sport, this can only be done by the breakdown of carbohydrates, and soccer is no exception. This means that players should pay particular attention to this aspect of their diet - more especially when considering the notorious practices of soccer players when they are given no guidance about what to eat. The heavy training/match schedule that the British game involves only serves to increase the need for carbohydrate intake.

When discussing this subject, it is usual to express the form of the energy consumed as percentages (proportions) eaten as carbohydrate, fat and protein. While the typical diet for the general British population is about 40% carbohydrate, 45% fat and 15% protein, the recommended dietary proportions for a soccer player would be roughly 65% carbohydrate, 20% fat and 15% protein. However, the typical diet of the soccer player is actually very similar to that of the general population - too little carbohydrate and too much fat.

The Keeper.

The specific demands of the different positions within a team are not as clearly defined as in some other team sports, such as rugby union. The obvious exception to this is, of course, the goalkeeper. A keeper relies little on the aerobic system for energy production since all the important phases of play for him last a relatively short time. The key performance quality of the keeper is probably agility, and this can be broken down further to include speed, power, strength and flexibility. If he happens to be tall, it's clearly an added bonus!

Outfield Players.

An analysis of soccer matches on video has shown that midfield players tend to cover the most distance, and other studies have - not surprisingly - shown these players to have the highest VO2 max scores, and to show the least fatigue when performing many repeated sprints in succession. Compared to forwards and defenders, midfield players tend to have a more continuous involvement in the game. However, while forwards and defenders usually have more time to recover between sprints, they also need to perform those sprints at a faster speed to be successful in their crucial phases of play.

Nutrition is important for Sports Men and Women, even for people who go about their normal daily routines. Sites such as Protein Advisor and Protein Checklist are a fantastic help to get you started.

It makes you think twice when you see a players individual statistics for games though especially in the Champions League. It always gives you a guide to the top five players with distance covered within a game or how an individual compares to others around him.

The title win last weekend against Crystal Palace just goes to prove that with everything they work hard for on the pitch, the Chelsea players have worked just has hard off the pitch to maintain their fitness, to eat right and to replenish energy within their rest periods.

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