Renault GAA World Games Athlete's Preparation Guide
In the first of a two part series, we take a look at some of the preparations that participants should be undertaking to optimise their performances during the 2019 Renault GAA World Games. With teams made up of nine players on the field at any one time, and the likelihood of multiple games in a day, preparing appropriately before, during and after games will be essential to ensuring that maximum recovery can be achieved, and performances optimised.
In this initial segment, nutrition and hydration planning will be covered, as well as tournament-specific warm-up routines, designed to minimise the risk of injury and ensure that athlete's are correctly fuelled to allow for maximum effort across an exceptionally busy playing schedule!
- A loss of sweat equal to 2% of body weight causes a noticeable decrease in physical and mental performance. Losses of 5% or more of body weight during physical activities may decrease the capacity for work by up to 30%. As such, players should not wait to feel thirsty before taking on fluids, and should aim to sip liquids throughout the day.
- Anywhere between 0.5 and 1.0 litre of fluid should be consumed 2-3 hours before games. During games, 150-250ml of fluid should be taken in every 15/20 minutes, electrolytes also need to be replaced. Sports drinks and coconut water are useful additions here also.
- Given the nature of the competition and the multiple fixtures that need to be fulfilled, water needs to be readily available for all players throughout the day, while sports drinks may replenish fluids and energy quicker when required.
- The focus here is on fuelling the body for the upcoming activity, with the emphasis on high carbohydrate, low fat and some protein intake.
- In terms of timing, approximately three to four hours prior to the game, players should be aiming to eat their main meal, which should be rich in carbohydrates, low in fat and with some element of protein. Examples include - pasta, cereals, beans on toast, banana sandwiches, chicken-based dishes etc. If the game is on early in the morning, the meal should be consumed the evening before.
- During games, the focus is on maintaining hydration levels and ensuring energy levels are stocked up.
- Sports drinks, fruit and/or quick energy snacks such as energy bars/energy drinks/jelly sweets should be used here as required. They should be consumed at half time, and fluid should be sipped every 15 minutes.
- After games, replenishing energy stocks and hydration levels is very important. Refuelling within the 20-minute post-game window is vital if multiple games are being played. Again, carbohydrate and protein rich meals are recommended.
- Dioralytes can help maintain the hydration balance for the duration of the week.
- Fat intake should be minimised in pre and post game meals, as this can slow down the assimilation of vital nutrients needed to perform and recover.
- Ensure that players pack quick energy snacks and drinks to help keep energy and hydration levels at optimum levels during the week.
- 1st Warm-Up (10-15 mins) - Full Warm-Up following RAMP (Raise body temperature, activate important muscles, mobilise joints, potentiate the main muscles that will be used), start slowly and raise intensity gradually, then finish with explosive, game-specific contact.
- Subsequent Warm-Ups (7-12 mins) - Reduce the time on the raising body temperature segment, extend the mobility component, provide opportunity for self-directed preparation and reduce the amount of explosive work (by approximately 50%, but don't cut it out)
- Examples - Raising the heart rate: Skill-based activity, such as handpassing, kickpassing, pick-ups etc, high knees, heel flicks, side shuffle, back pedal, karaoke (twist & turn)
- Activate Muscles/Mobilise Joints: Forward lunges, reverse lunges, inchworm, hamstring kicks, T push up ( all for 1x4 on each side)
- Perform: Squat jumps (1x4), standing long jumps (1x4), 15m sprints (1x4), Game-related activity 2/3 minutes.