Sport-specific nutrition: practical strategies for team sports

J Sports Sci. 2011:29 Suppl 1:S115-25. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2011.605459. Epub 2011 Aug 11.


Implementation of a nutrition programme for team sports involves application of scientific research together with the social skills necessary to work with a sports medicine and coaching staff. Both field and court team sports are characterized by intermittent activity requiring a heavy reliance on dietary carbohydrate sources to maintain and replenish glycogen. Energy and substrate demands are high during pre-season training and matches, and moderate during training in the competitive season. Dietary planning must include enough carbohydrate on a moderate energy budget, while also meeting protein needs. Strength and power team sports require muscle-building programmes that must be accompanied by adequate nutrition, and simple anthropometric measurements can help the nutrition practitioner monitor and assess body composition periodically. Use of a body mass scale and a urine specific gravity refractometer can help identify athletes prone to dehydration. Sports beverages and caffeine are the most common supplements, while opinion on the practical effectiveness of creatine is divided. Late-maturing adolescent athletes become concerned about gaining size and muscle, and assessment of maturity status can be carried out with anthropometric procedures. An overriding consideration is that an individual approach is needed to meet each athlete's nutritional needs.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Dehydration
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Sports / physiology*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Glycogen