Basketball Coaching (index)

JOIN NOW!  Click - Become a Member!
HomePlayer TipsWhat to Eat
HomeCoachingWhat to Eat

Basketball Nutrition - What to Eat Before a Game or Practice

By James Gels, from the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook, @
First, the athlete should maintain a healthy diet every day, not just on game day, for overall well-being.

Now on game day...

I have always believed in a diet high in carbohydrates (avoid fats, grease) about 1-2 hours before game-time or practice (you need time to digest it). Players should eat enough to feel their hunger is satisfied, but not overeat or stuff themselves. If it is a larger meal (lunch or dinner), eat at least 2 to 3 hours before the game; if it is a snack (you already had lunch or dinner earlier), eat the snack 1 hour before the game.

Suggested foods:

Some kind of pasta is a good lunch or dinner choice.


Cereals and grains
Peanut butter crackers
Peanut butter sandwich
French toast
Orange juice
Lean Meats

Avoid dairy products high in fat. Low fat yogurt would be fine.

Adequate fluid intake is important before and during the game to avoid dehydration... but again, too much is not good medicine. In addition to water, sport drinks or fruit juices are good choices.

If your practices or games are late in the afternoon, right after school, make sure you eat breakfast and lunch that day. Some fruit like bananas or oranges one hour before the practice or game would be a good booster.

Read this senario...

Recently our boys played a triple-overtime tournament game on a Wednesday evening. We won and everyone was exhausted after the game. We had a practice the next afternoon, and the final game of the tournament of Friday evening (two nights later). Here's what I advised the boys.

After the Wednesday triple-overtime game, go home and eat some protein. Then the next day, eat a lot of carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, etc. The reason for this is to replenish the glycogen stores in the muscles, which were probably depleted after the triple-overtime game. Glycogen is the storage chemical in every cell in the body that stores glucose for metabolism.

To replenish those glycogen stores, eat a lot of carbohydrates (starch) the day before the final game. Not doing so, could result in those glycogen stores running low sometime in the second half of the final game, contributing to physical and mental fatigue. So carbohydrate load the day before the big game, and eat normally as suggested above on the day of the game. That's what we did, and, by the way, we did win the final game by 10 points.

Also, see conditioning-fitness expert Tom Emma's article on "The Recovery Snack"... what to eat right after a hard work-out.

Helpful DVDs:

Many coaching DVDs at the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD Store!

Mental Performance
Many more basketball DVDs at the Coach's Clipboard Basketball DVD Store!

This page lists and categorizes a number of DVDs focused on the mental aspect of sports in general and basketball. Included topics are confidence building, goal setting, sports psychology, motivation, mental training, stress control, and team building. For any athlete today, whether it is elite-level, professional, recreational, and even youth athletes, successful performances cannot simply be attributed to superior physical performance. Concepts such as mental imagery, goal setting, motivation training, team building, and relaxation are the basis for strong mental preparation whether it be for a team or an individual sport, for a coach or an athlete.

Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: Five-Star's Individual Improvement Program

Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: Five-Star's Individual Improvement Program
with IMG Basketball Academy Program Coordinator, Mike Moreau.
This is the same Five-Star basketball skills program that has helped LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and over 300 other current NBA players make the most of their skills. This legendary program includes 25 drills and is broken down into six areas of development: Moves Around the Basket, Moves Off the Dribble, Moves Off the Catch, Defense Footwork, Shooting Footwork, and Game Conditioning. In each area, Coach Moreau shares the essential drills that will help improve your game during the off-season or pre-season... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: Five-Star's Training Program for Elite Athletes

Becoming a Champion Basketball Player: Five-Star's Training Program for Elite Athletes
with The Ultimate Training Performance Center (NY) Director, Pete McLean If you want to become a better basketball player, you need to train at an intense level --- if you are serious about your training there isn't a better program to use than this legendary Five-Star program used by Steve Francis, Stephon Marbury, and many other NBA Superstars on their way to becoming "Champions"! The training regimen featured in this DVD can be used by young athletes just starting out, or by the most proven athlete who is attempting to move up to the next level... (more info)

Price: $39.99
Buy Now

Copyright © 2001 - 2016, James A. Gels, all rights reserved.

JOIN NOW!  Click - Become a Member!
Coach's Clipboard on Facebook Coach's Clipboard on Twitter Coach's Clipboard on Google+ Follow Coach's Clipboard on Pinterest Connect with Coach Gels and Coach's Clipboard on LinkedIn