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Nutrition to Win

"You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

- Admiral James Stockdale


As parents, we often have to hold to equal AND opposite realities in tension. It’s what Jim Collins dubbed The Stockdale Paradox in his book Good to Great. Admiral Stockdale was a naval aviator in Vietnam, and after being shot down was a POW for 7 years in the infamous Hanoi Hilton. In his interview with Jim Collins, he noted the following:

"I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."

When Collins asked who didn't make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:

Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.

This may seem like a far cry from parenting and nutrition. There are certainly lessons in this for each of us in a number of areas. But let’s be honest: As Parents, we all know how critical nutrition is for our boys, and we know the greatness to which they aspire and we hope to enable is built on the mundane foundation of nutrition. We also know the sisyphean effort of trying enable our children to eat properly...more so when we roll them out of bed at 5am to be at a 7am tournament warm-up.

At Bay to Bay, we’re going to embrace brutal honesty in acknowledging that having teenage boys eat properly before, during, and after tournaments (much less the rest of the week) is a tall hill to climb. We are also going to hold unwaveringly to the faith that we can make a difference in their eating, both for volleyball and as a foundation for the rest of their lives.

Attached is a one page document called “Bay to Bay Tournament Nutrition.” It came as the result of a couple conversations I had with parents asking for help with nutrition. Bay to Bay sponsored a private nutritional counseling session to work through a set of guidelines for our club to use to help the boys properly fuel up. This will be an ongoing journey... I hope that this helps get us going.

Two things stood out to me:

  1. Eating a snack within 30min of finishing a game is critical to replenishing glycogen - which is the key energy store for competing. After 30-60mins, it takes longer to replenish that, so the boys may experience a small drop in energy.

  2. The boys should be drinking WAY MORE WATER. They should be urinating every 2-3 hours. No joke. Along with low glycogen, being dehydrated is one of the most prominent factors in low energy (i.e. end of day crash).

Both of these disciplines are:

  1. Not fun to talk about

  2. Almost impossible to imagine the boys giving a lick about

  3. An opportunity to establish a competitive differentiator for the Bay teams, and help the teams enjoy those late matches (i.e win).

Couple other quick thoughts (I’ll build these out more in the future)

  1. On a tournament day, there is a dance of pre & post workouts, and at times they can be the same thing. The key is this: healthy and appropriate portions of protein and carbohydrates (and a ton of water).

  2. Carbohydrates are what refill glycogen reserves, so making sure the boys are getting something to eat right after a match is important (See the Snack Ideas for help)

  3. PB&J or PB&banana are both one of several great post-game quick snacks.

  4. Limit excess fat and fiber. These, while healthy in their own place, can (when eaten in excess) cause sluggishness during athletic performance.

-Scott Morris

The “Bay to Bay Nutrition” guide was built by Haley Hall from Results Food Coaching


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