High school athletes are one of my favorite type of athlete to work with. They are typically highly motivated with big dreams of college play. However, it comes with the territory that they are also busy and often stressed. When working with high school athletes, here are some key nutrition things I emphasize to improve performance and reach future goals.
1. Change the when before you change the what
Instead of starting right away with eat this-not that, I start with timing of intake. Timing of intake makes a huge difference with respect to any performance goal. Plus, it is easier for a high school student to focus on eating a few more times during the day before worrying about what that food consists of.
2. Lets discuss your schedule
Knowing the athlete's school, practice, and competition schedule is critical to developing an eating plan that works. Every athlete's schedule is slightly different, so my understanding of their time restrictions makes a huge difference to their level of success with my eating program.
3. Work on short-term goals
Would I love every high school to do a complete diet overhaul within the first 2-3 visits with me? Of course, but that simply is not realistic nor maintainable. So, I start with short-term goals, such as eat breakfast every morning, add a recovery drink after practice or eat a nighttime snack. One goal per week and no addition of new goals until each is accomplished.
4. Lets involve mom and dad
While many high school athletes are in the phase of thinking parents know little, involving them in nutrition changes is crucial. I have met few high school student athletes who do their own shopping, prep and/or cooking. So, making sure parents are on board with changes is a big deal. This may mean parents attend sessions or I send a simple email after sessions to update parents on goals for the week and anything I need from them.
5. Be flexible
As much as they may want to be a D1 athlete, high school athletes are still high schoolers. This means they want to eat ice cream, french fries and chicken tenders once in a while. My goal is not to cut those out entirely, but to teach young athletes how and when to eat these types of foods to minimize negative performance effects.
Know a high school athlete that would benefit from nutrition instruction? Now is the perfect time to visit the office before the start of the school year. Check out www.RDKate.com for more information and call 989-906-2459 to schedule. Remember I work via phone and Skype too, so you don't have to live close to Naperville to improve your performance nutrition! Illinois and Michigan clients welcome!