Feeding Lollies to Juniors during quarter and half-time Breaks. YES or NO
Mentoring Coaches for many years has identified a problem during the breaks.
What concerned me most was the consumption of lollies during the breaks. If you, the Coach, have researched the effects of sugar during performance and conclude that this is a good thing, fair enough but did you know that an athlete is only supposed to consume 60 grams of jelly lollies, if any during match play?
A quick sugar hit can suddenly bring boundless energy but take a look at the crash and burn that comes not long after this energy burst. Foods consumed before match play or during, require slow release energy to keep the athlete balanced without tiring. Lollies do not have that effect.
Then there is the disruption to Coaching during the breaks. Juniors seem to get quite obsessed about grabbing their lollies, in particular the colour they like, so most of what the Coach is saying probably sounds like the adults in the cartoon ‘Charlie Brown’.
After the game I’d have a chat with the Coach to see if having lollies during the break was a planned exercise and was shocked to hear that most Coaches didn’t have a say. Parents put them in the middle of team talks without discussion.
This is also the same as a fruit platter offered to players during breaks. Is this a planned fruit platter or a parent preparing this for the team also without discussion?
Pre, during and post-game Coaching is valuable. These moments reinforce all the work that has been done at training as well as strategies during the game. With players not listening and spending this precious time eating and talking I can’t see the benefit in feeding children during these breaks.
All players should be given a pre-game eating plan from breakfast to the actual game as well as a hydration plan. Fruit can be used as recovery food, at the end of the game, during debrief. Maybe Parents can be rostered, to provide a fruit platter (recovery food) at the debrief talk.
The Australian Sports Commission has some valuable fact sheets on just this topic. Worth a read.