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Topic 1. Nutrition for team sports

p. 159-170


Team sports are based on intermittent high-intensity activity patterns but the exact characteristics vary between and within codes, and from one game to the next. Despite the challenge of predicting exact game demands, performance in team sports is often influenced by nutritional preparation. Chronic issues include achieving ideal levels of muscle mass and body fat, and supporting the nutrient needs of daily training. Acute issues, both for training and in games, include strategies that allow the player to be well fuelled and hydrated over the duration of exercise. Each player should develop a plan of consuming fluid and carbohydrate according to the needs of their activity patterns, within the breaks that are provided in their sport. In seasonal fixtures, competition varies from a weekly game in some codes to two to three games over a weekend road trip in others, with a tournament fixture usually involving one to three days between matches. Recovery between events is a major priority, involving rehydration, refuelling and repair/adaptation interventions. Some sports supplements may be of value to the team sport athlete. Sports drinks, carbohydrate gels and liquid meal supplements may be valuable in allowing nutritional goals to be met, while caffeine, creatine and buffering agents may directly enhance competition performance.

Texte intégral

1. Introduction

1Team sports share the common feature of intermittent high-intensity activity patterns, but experience marked variability of game characteristics between sports, between positions and playing styles within the same sport, and from one match to the next. This creates a diversity of physiological challenges and nutritional needs for team sport athletes. In this chapter we overview four key areas in which nutrition can optimize performance in team sports: achievement of ideal body composition, the philosophy of nutritional support for training, strategies for meeting fluid and fuel needs during competition, and dietary supplements and nutritional ergogenic aids with benefits to team sport athletes.

2. Physiological characteristics of match play in team sports

2Most team sports (e.g. basketball, football, hockey, rugby, volleyball) can be described as moderate-to-long duration exercise including repeated bouts of high-intensity activity interspersed with periods of low-to-moderate active recovery or passive rest. From a physiological perspective, team sports are characterized by the moderate-to-long distances covered by the players during match play (e.g. 8 to 12 km in association football), but also the variable activity pattern (e.g. in excess of 800 activity changes per football match, including walking, jogging, cruising, sprinting, backing, jumping, tackling and heading) [Hawley et al. 1998; Reilly et al. 1976].

3Players’ ability to perform repeated sprints with short duration recovery in between is an important determinant of performance in intermittent team sports (Spencer et al. 2005; Rampinini et al. 2007). This activity pattern determines to a great extent the physiological requirements of team sports. As shown by physiological measurements conducted during match play, these requirements include not only a high aerobic capacity, but also a high glycolytic capacity and a well-developed phosphocreatine breakdown/resynthesis system (Bangsbo et al. 1994; Ziv et al. 2009). Various factors may be involved in the cause of fatigue or sub-optimal performance in this context, with those related to nutrition being summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: Factors related to nutrition that could produce fatigue or sub-optimal performance in team sports.



Examples of high risk/common occurrence in team sports


Failure to drink enough fluid to adequately replace sweat losses during a game. May be exacerbated if player begins match in fluid deficit.

Matches played in hot conditions, particularly for players with high activity patterns and/or heavy protective garments. Repeated matches (e.g. tournaments) may increase risk of compounding dehydration from one match to the next

Muscle glycogen depletion

Depletion of important muscle fuel due to high utilization in a single match and/or poor recovery of stores from previous activity/match

“Running” players with large total distances covered at high intensities (e.g. midfield players in soccer, Australian Rules football). Repeated matches (e.g. tournament) may increase risk of poor refuelling from one match to the next

Hypoglycaemia and depletion of central nervous system fuels (brain glycogen)

Reduction in blood glucose concentrations due to poor carbohydrate availability

May occur in players with high-carbohydrate requirements (see above) who fail to consume carbohydrate during the match

Disturbance of muscle acid–base balance

High rates of H + production via anaerobic glycolytic power system

Prolonged or repeated intervals of high-intensity activities

Depletion of phosphocreatine stores

Inadequate recovery of phosphocreatine system of power production

Prolonged or repeated intervals of high-intensity activities

Gastrointestinal disturbances

GI disturbances, including vomiting and diarrhoea may directly reduce performance, as well as interfere with nutritional strategies aimed at managing fluid and fuel status

Poorly chosen intake of food and fluid before and/or during match. An overzealous intake of carbohydrate containing fluids during hot/humid training or game situations.

Salt depletion (?)

Inadequate replacement of sodium lost in sweat. There is anecdotal evidence that salt depletion may increase the risk of a specific type of whole-body muscle cramp

Salty sweaters – individuals with high sweat rates and high sweat sodium concentrations who may acutely or chronically deplete exchangeable sodium pools

Water intoxication Hyponatraemia (low blood sodium)

Excessive intake of fluids can lead to hyponatraemia ranging from mild (often asymptomatic) to severe (can be fatal)

Players with low sweat losses (e.g. low activity or game time) who overzealously consume fluid before and during a match

3. Achieving ideal physique for team sports

4Although the physique requirements of team sports vary across and within sports, there are some common elements. Team sport players in positions that cover significant distances within a game and who are required to be fast and agile are generally aided by a lighter and lean physique. Typically, the body fat levels of team sport players do not reach the low levels typical of endurance athletes such as runners, cyclists and triathletes. However, recent observations among professional team sports have noted a reduction in body fat levels across players in general (Duthie et al. 2003; Reilly, 1990) and new levels of leanness among “midfield” players. The requirement to wear lycra bodysuit uniforms in some team competitions has also contributed to an increased interest in loss of body fat among team players, although in this case it may be driven by aesthetic interests as much as by performance goals. Table 2 summarizes the risk factors and strategies to manage unwanted gain of body fat among players in team sports.

5Many team sport players follow the nutritional strategies of strength-training athletes, emphasizing protein intake and using purported muscle-gain dietary supplements. Recent research using tracer techniques has focused on the best feeding strategies following a bout of resistance exercise. Various investigations have found that the maximal protein synthetic response is produced when resistance exercise is followed by the immediate intake of rapidly digested, highquality protein (Tang et al. 2009; West et al. 2011). Despite the belief that large amounts of protein are needed for gains from resistance exercise, a dose–response study has found that the maximal synthetic response to a training bout was achieved with the intake of 20 to 25 g of high-quality protein following exercise (Moore et al. 2009). Over a 12-hour recovery window, regular feeding (i.e. every 3 hours) of a moderate quantity [20 g] of rapidly digested whey protein will continue to promote high rates of muscle protein synthesis following resistance training (Areta et al. 2013). As a general rule, including ˜0.25 g/kg body mass immediately following resistance training and in subsequent meals will likely promote a maximal response to resistance training. Furthermore, a well-scheduled intake of high-quality protein foods is likely to restrict the loss of muscle mass and strength during recovery from injury (Wall et al. 2015).

Table 2: Risk factors and strategies to manage unwanted gain of body fat among players in team sports (adapted from Burke, 2007).

Risk factor

Strategies to address risk factor

Substantial reduction in activity levels during the off-season or injury

■ Encouragement of self-monitored off-season activity programme or suitable cross-training and rehabilitation programme during injury

Poor eating and drinking practices during the off-season or injury, including “boredom eating” and “binge” practices with eating and alcohol intake

■ Development of individualized off-season dietary plan, allowing greater food flexibility, but with appropriate energy intake to match reduced energy expenditure
■ Counselling regarding food and alcohol binges to allow a more moderate approach to social occasions

Poor nutrition knowledge and practical skills leading to poor food choices, convenient low-quality ready-prepared meals and reliance on takeaway foods

■ Nutrition-education activities to improve nutrition awareness and identify nutrient-dense, less energy-dense foods
■ Individual nutrition counselling and development of dietary plan
■ Practical nutrition lifestyle activities (e.g. supermarket tours, cooking classes) to teach domestic skills and knowledge of sound choices in restaurants and takeaway outlets

Chaotic meal patterns and displaced meals leading to poor awareness of actual food intake in a day

■ Counselling in time management and domestic skills to develop a sound eating routine
■ Provision of meals and snacks within team environment to address scenarios where team commitments interfere with food intake

Residential situation (e.g. college, foster family) exposing athlete to inappropriate food choices and food volume

■ Development of nutrition education resources or activities for caterers regarding special nutritional needs of athletes
■ Player education to make sound choices from available options or request modifications to menu
■ Identification of food items that can be added to, or substituted in, present meals to improve overall menu

Constant travel, leading to disturbance of home routine; game schedule of frequent matches where emphasis is on fuelling and recovery

■ Development of an individualized eating plan that provides adequate opportunities to meet player’s fuel needs for match preparation and recovery, without exceeding appropriate energy budget

Regular excessive intake of alcohol, often in conjunction with inappropriate eating

■ Development of nutrition-education resources providing objective information about excessive intake of alcohol and sports performance, including body fat management
■ Individual counselling to negotiate contract regarding appropriate alcohol intake practices

4. Fuel for training adaptation, recovery and match preparation

6According to Table 1, a mismatch between the carbohydrate needs of training and competition and dietary carbohydrate intake can be a cause of poor performance in team sports. There are few studies of the fuel demands of team sport players during training or competition, with the available evidence being focused on the match play of soccer players. Significant muscle glycogen depletion has been shown to occur over the course of a football match (Ekblom, 1986; Saltin, 1973; Krustrup et al. 2006), with reduced fuel stores being associated with a reduction in the distance covered and/or running speed during the second half of a match (Ekblom, 1986; Saltin, 1973). The current guidelines for carbohydrate intakes amended to suit a range of needs for team players are summarized in Table 3. It should be pointed out that daily carbohydrate requirements are not static, but rather reflect changes in daily, weekly or seasonal changes in exercise within a periodized training programme (Holway & Spriet, 2011). As such, team sport athletes should be appropriately educated to manipulate their daily fuel intake to match the demands of training and competition.

7We have no definitive assessment of carbohydrate usage for team sport athletes, but it is likely that daily requirements for most players are within 4 to 8 g/kg BM/d. Higher intakes may be required for younger team players to accommodate for growth and development, for leaner players with high daily energy requirements and for athletes striving to gain lean muscle mass to maintain a positive energy balance. The lower-range carbohydrate intake recommendations are likely suitable for team players with high body fat levels (given recommendations are expressed relative to body mass), for athletes returning from injury or on a break where training loads are reduced, or for players striving to reduce body fat levels during a general conditioning phase of training.

Table 3: Fuel requirements for training and match play adapted for team players (adapted from Burke & Cox, 2010).

Image 10000000000003F700000252DDC9DA1A.jpg

8Several field and laboratory studies have examined the value of fuelling up in preparation for team sport. In one investigation, professional soccer players completed an intermittent high-intensity protocol of field and treadmill running lasting ˜90 min, after a 48 hours intake of high-carbohydrate (˜8 g/kg/d) or moderate-carbohydrate (˜4.5 g/kg/d) diets. The high-carbohydrate diet increased intermittent running to fatigue at the end of the protocol by ˜1 km (p < 0.05), although the performance enhancement was more marked in some participants than others (Bangsbo et al. 1992). Similarly, movement analysis of a four-a-side indoor soccer game lasting 90 minutes was undertaken following 48 hours of high (˜8 g/kg/d) or moderate (˜3 g/kg/d) carbohydrate intake. The high-carbohydrate diet increased muscle glycogen by 38% and allowed soccer players to complete ˜33% more high-intensity work during the game (Balsom et al. 1999).

9Abt et al. (1998) examined the effect of a high-carbohydrate diet on the performance of dribbling and shooting skills of football players using a simulated game protocol. The high-carbohydrate diet did not increase the ability of players to shoot or dribble. Several explanations are possible: muscle glycogen depletion may not impair the ability of the player to execute game skills; alternative fatigue mechanisms such as dehydration or increased lactate production may be causative factors in the reduction in skill performance; or the treadmill protocol employed failed to induce a degree of glycogen depletion or fatigue large enough to cause a significant fall in skill performance (Abt et al. 1998).

10Players from two elite Swedish ice hockey teams were randomly allocated to either a carbohydrate-enriched (8.4 g/kg/d) or mixed (6.2 g/kg/d) diet in the recovery period between two games held 72 hours apart. Muscle glycogen concentrations were reduced after the first game for all players, but restoration levels were 45% higher in the carbohydrate-loaded players before the next game. Distance skated, number of shifts skated, amount of time skated within shifts, and skating speed were all increased in the carbohydrate-loaded players compared with the mixed diet group, with the differences being most marked in the third period (Akermark et al. 1996).

11Rapid refuelling after the completion of the game will be important in situations where there is only a short interval between matches or where the player needs to undertake a significant training load between matches (Table 3). There are few studies of actual glycogen restoration following real or simulated competition in team sport; these are limited to soccer and show divergent results with both success (Zehnder et al. 2001) and failure (Jacobs et al. 1982) to replenish glycogen stores within 24 hours. Potential reasons for failure to refuel effectively after competition include interference with glycogen storage due to the presence of muscle damage arising from eccentric activities (Zehnder et al. 2004) or contact injuries, and excessive intake of alcohol (see Burke et al. 2007). Current sports nutrition guidelines for everyday eating recommend that athletes consume adequate carbohydrate to meet the fuel requirements of their training programme, thus allowing training sessions to be undertaken with high-carbohydrate availability (for review, see Burke, 2010).

12However, some studies have found that when exercise is undertaken with low muscle glycogen content, the transcription of a number of genes involved in training adaptations is enhanced (for review, see Barr, 2008). This information explains the recently described “train low, compete high” paradigm: training with low glycogen/carbohydrate availability to enhance the training response, but competing with high fuel availability to promote performance. There are a number of potential ways to reduce carbohydrate availability for training, including doing two training sessions in close succession without opportunity for refuelling (Hansen et al. 2005; Yeo et al. 2008), or training in a fasted state with only water intake (Cox et al. 2010). As reviewed by Burke (2010), it should be pointed out that these strategies do not involve a low carbohydrate intake per se, or follow the currently topical low-carbohydrate high-fat diet. Furthermore, they do not advocate low carbohydrate availability for all training sessions; indeed, studies report a reduction in selfchosen training intensity with " train low " sessions, which may account for a failure to achieve an overall improvement in performance (Yeo et al. 2008; Hulston et al. 2010).

13One study has applied the “train low” theory to a team sport model. Morton and colleagues (Morton et al. 2009) followed the progress of three groups of recreationally active men who undertook four weekly sessions of a set programme of high-intensity running with either high-carbohydrate availability (one session per day), train low (twice a week training with two training sessions in succession), or train low + glucose (as before, but with glucose intake before and during the second session). All groups recorded a similar improvement in VO 2 max (˜10%) and distance run during a Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test 2 protocol (˜18%), although the group who trained with low availability of exogenous and endogenous carbohydrate sources showed greater metabolic advantages such as increased activity of oxidative enzymes. Further work, including a more sophisticated approach to periodizing carbohydrate availability around different training sessions, is needed.

5. Fuel and fluid for match play

14Table 1 summarized a number of nutritional factors that could be associated with fatigue during a team game. These include inadequate fuel and fluid status; factors that can be addressed by the intake of appropriate drinks and sports products during a match. Given the intermittent nature of team sports, they often offer frequent opportunities to ingest fluid and energy during breaks between periods, time-outs, substitutions or breaks in play (see Burke, 2007). Drinking opportunities for selected team sports are summarized in Table 4.

Table 4: Opportunities to drink during match play in selected team sports (adapted from Burke & Hawley, 1997).


Intervals of play

Opportunities to drink



4 x 10 to 12 min + substantial time-on, unlimited substitutions, time-outs

Quarter-time breaks, time-outs, substitutions

Fluids must be consumed on court sidelines

Field hockey

2 x 35 min, unlimited substitutions

Half-time, substitutions, pauses in play

Fluids must be consumed at sidelines; players must not leave field

Ice hockey

3 x 20 min + substantial time-on, unlimited substitutions, time-outs

Third-time breaks, time-outs, substitutions, pauses in play

Players must drink at bench


2 x 40 min, limited substitutions

Half-time break, substitutions, pauses in play

Trainers may run onto field with fluid bottles during pauses in play


2 x 45 min, substitutions without replacement

Half-time break, pauses in play (drink must be taken at sideline)

Fluids must be consumed at sidelines; players must not leave field


First to 3 sets, limited substitutions, time-outs

Time-outs, substitutions, breaks between sets

Fluids must be consumed at sidelines

15Dehydration is directly related to reduced exercise capacity, increased perception of effort, and deterioration of mental performance and skill in team sport athletes (for review, see Burke & Hawley, 1997). Sweat rates for team sport players are underpinned by the intermittent high-intensity work patterns, which are variable and unpredictable between and within team sports. Even from match to match, the same player can experience different workloads (and sweat losses) due to different game demands and overall playing time. Fluid losses are also affected by variable climate and environmental conditions in which team sports are played (e.g. outdoor vs. indoor; on sunny beach vs. on ice) and in some sports the requirement to wear protective clothing, including body pads and helmets. Garth and Burke (2013) recently reviewed fluid intake practices of athletes participating in various sporting events. They noted that most of the available literature involves observations from football (soccer) games, and there is little information on practices on other team sports, such as rugby league, rugby union, cricket, basketball and beach volleyball (for review, see Garth and Burke, 2013). Studies that have included a test of pre-game hydration status in conjunction with fluid balance testing found that a subset of players reported on match day with urine samples consistent with dehydration. Typical reported mean sweat rates were > 500 ml/h across all weather conditions in outdoor male team sports, with cases of sweat rates > 1500 ml/h during matches played in hot conditions. Mean fluid intakes ranged from 300 to 800 ml/h across outdoor team sports, although in games where the highest mean sweat rates were recorded mean fluid intakes were ˜1000 ml/h. Overall, mean BM changes over a match ranged from ˜1 to 1.5% in cool to warm conditions to > 2% BM in cases of soccer and cricket played in hot conditions. Where studies reported ranges in BM changes over a match, there were instances where this exceeded 4% BM in individual players. One study reported that the total volume of fluid consumed by players was not different when they were provided with sports drink and water compared with water alone.

16McGregor et al. (1999) examined the effect of intermittent high-intensity shuttle running and fluid ingestion on the performance of a football skill in semi-professional players. Performance of the skill test after a trial with no fluid deteriorated by 5%, but was maintained during the fluid ingestion trial. In addition, mean heart rate, perceived exertion, serum aldosterone, osmolality, sodium and cortisol responses during the test were higher when no fluid was ingested. Nevertheless, Edwards and Noakes (2009) suggest that dehydration is only an outcome of complex physiological control (operating a pacing plan) and no single metabolic factor is causal of fatigue in elite soccer. Other hydration and nutritional factors that could produce fatigue in football include hypoglycaemia, other mechanisms of “central fatigue” involving neurotransmitters, hyponatraemia, and gastrointestinal discomfort and upset (Edwards and Noakes, 2009).

17Nicholas et al. (1995) examined the effects of ingesting a 6.9% carbohydrate-electrolyte solution on endurance capacity during a prolonged intermittent, high-intensity shuttle running test. The solution was ingested immediately prior to exercise (5 ml/kg) and every 15 min thereafter (2 ml/kg). The subjects were able to continue running longer when fed the carbohydrate-electrolyte solution. Ali et al. (2007) investigated the effect of ingesting a similar carbohydrateelectrolyte solution in subjects with reduced carbohydrate stores, during an intermittent shuttle running test, and football passing and shooting performance. The carbohydrate-electrolyte solution enabled subjects with compromised glycogen stores to better maintain skill and sprint performance than when ingesting fluid alone. Linseman et al. (2014) investigated the effects of maintaining hydration with a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution versus mild dehydration (˜2%) during a 70-minutes on-ice scrimmage in ice hockey players. Skating speed and puck handling performance during the game, as well as post-game skating speed were improved with ingestion of the carbohydrate-electroltye solution.

18In addition to the physiological and metabolic benefits, Backhouse and colleagues (2007) studied the effects of carbohydrate ingestion during prolonged high-intensity intermittent exercise on affect and perceived exertion. Their results showed that perceived activation was lower without carbohydrate ingestion during the last 30 min of exercise, and this was accompanied by lowered plasma glucose concentrations. In the carbohydrate trial, RPE was maintained in the last 30 minutes of exercise but carried on increasing in the PLA trial. These authors concluded that carbohydrate ingestion during prolonged high-intensity exercise elicits an enhanced perceived activation profile that may impact upon task persistence and performance.

19Clarke et al. (2005) investigated the effect of the provision of sports drink during football-specific exercise. On two occasions, 7 mL/kg carbohydrate-electrolyte or placebo (PLA) solutions were ingested at 0 and 45 min. On a third trial, the same volume of carbohydrate-electrolyte was consumed in smaller volumes at 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, and 75 minutes. This manipulation of the timing and volume of ingestion elicited similar metabolic responses without affecting exercise performance. However, consuming fluid in small volumes reduced the sensation of gut fullness (Clarke et al. 2008).

20Nevertheless, limitations exist regarding the ability of team sport athletes to ingest fluid during match play. Indeed, gastric emptying of liquids is slowed during brief intermittent high-intensity exercise compared with rest or steady-state moderate exercise (Leiper et al. 2001), and the intensity of football match play is sufficient to slow gastric emptying (Leiper, Prentice, Wrightson & Maughan, 2001).

6. Dietary supplements and sports foods for team sport athletes

21Like most athletes, team sport athletes are often interested in the potential performance gain to be obtained by means of special dietary supplements. These products are summarized in Table 5. Among the proposed nutritional ergogenic supplements, creatine (Cr) is the one that has been investigated the most in relation with team sports, given that its purported ergogenic action (i.e. enhanced recovery of the phosphocreatine power system) matches the activity profilent of team sports. Various investigations indicate that both acute and chronic Cr supplementation may contribute to improved training and competition performance in team sports (e.g. Ahmun et al. 2005; Ostojic, 2004).

Table 5: Sports foods and dietary supplements that are of likely benefit to team sport players (adapted from Burke, 2007).

Image 1000000000000400000005DDBEC15898.jpg

22Caffeine ingestion has also been shown to enhance team sport performance by improving speed, power, intermittent sprint ability, jump performance and passing accuracy (Foskett et al. 2009; Stuart et al. 2005). However, conflicting results are not lacking in the literature (Paton et al. 2001).

23Other dietary supplements with a potential but yet unclear ergogenic effect for team sport performance include induced metabolic alkalosis via bicarbonate ingestion to reduce fatigue during competition (Bishop et al. 2005; Tan et al. 2010) or to enhance adaptations to training (Edge et al. 2006). Beta-alanine supplementation, to increase muscle stores of the intracellular buffer carnosine, may also provide benefits and requires further study using protocols suited to team sports (Derave et al. 2010). Colostrum supplementation has conflicting reports with respect to its effects on recovery and illness (Shing et al. 2009) but includes one study in which supplementation over eight weeks improved the sprint performance of hockey players (Hofman et al. 2002). Beetroot juice, a source of nitrate, may enhance sports performance by mechanisms including an increase in exercise economy (Wylie et al. 2013) although there is a lack of clarity about whether benefits seen in lower-calibre athletes apply to well-trained/elite competitors. Athletes should be reminded that manufacturing standards of dietary supplements differ markedly throughout the world and while many athletes have the notion that dietary supplements will either directly or indirectly enhance exercise performance, there is an inherent risk that supplements are contaminated with banned substances (http://informed-sport.com/en/educational-links-and-downloads).

7. Practical nutrition considerations for the team athlete

24Dietary habits of team sport athletes’have not been as well studied as those of individual sport athletes. Holway and Spriet (2011) summarized the dietary intake studies of team sport athletes published over the past 30 years. It is difficult to make broad generalizations as data are skewed to certain team sports (football, basketball and volleyball) with little or no contemporary information reported on others (e.g. cricket, rugby union, water polo, hockey). However, weighted averages for energy intake were 15.3 MJ/day and 8.6 MJ/day for men (n= 819) and women (n= 283) respectively. Relative to body mass, male team sport athletes reported eating an average of 5.6 ± 1.3 g/kg/day carbohydrates, and females 4.0 ± 0.7 g/kg/day. This is less that reported for athletes engaged in individual team sports (Burke, 2001). Not surprisingly, larger athletes were reported to consume more energy and pre-season intakes were greater than in-season intakes, perhaps to accommodate the additional conditioning work incorporated into the preparatory training phase. Some evidence suggests the dietary quality of team sport athletes is less than what is reported for athletes involved in individual sports (Clark et al. 2003; Garrido et al. 2007). For instance, alcohol intakes of team sport athletes appear higher than other athlete groups (Van Erp-Baart et al. 1989; Burke et al. 1991), although contemporary dietary surveys are lacking to verify these earlier reports. The team culture of celebrating a win and commiserating a loss often leads to excessive consumption of alcohol during the post-game period. Implications of such behaviour include a decrease in muscle protein synthesis (Parr et al. 2014), effective rehydration, engagment in risky behaviour which may lead to serious injury or have implications on sponsors and the public image of the game. These issues need to be considered by sports nutrition professionals consulting with team sport athletes and highlight the need for a thorough dietary review of individual player habits and the team culture. Implementation of appropriate systems including a performance kitchen can capture the imagination of players around key nutrition principles, while enhancing team culture.


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