Part of helping youth pitching athletes become better pitchers is helping them with the fundamentals. Nutrition is one important fundamental for not only pitching performance, but also overall health.
Why is Nutrition So Important for Youth Pitching Athletes?
Why is it so important for kids, and particularly athletes, to prioritize nutrition? Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are essential for growth and development. You can’t build strong bones, strong muscles, or a strong brain without nutrients. This also means that nutrition can play an important part in youth pitching performance. Good nutrition is essential for training, competing, and recovery.
Forming healthy habits now can have a huge impact on a player’s future, on and off the field. That’s why we encourage athletes to follow a good nutritional template which includes water, whole foods, necessary supplements, and individualized nutritional needs. This template is something that young players can carry with them throughout their lives to help them understand healthy eating.
Encouraging Healthy Habits for Hydration and Nutrition in Youth Pitching Athletes
Since nutrition is so important, our coaches encourage healthy eating and drinking habits during pitching instruction. However, it’s ultimately up to the player and their parents to follow good nutritional guidelines. Of course, this means understanding what exactly the body needs to function properly.
Now, everyone’s a little different, so it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional about your child’s specific needs, but we do have a few tips that may help.
First off, the body needs water to stay hydrated. Water is important for many things, like transporting nutrients throughout the body, helping lubricate the joints, maintaining energy levels, and so much more. Young athletes need water to stay hydrated and perform at their best! Even though water is so important, many young people today go straight for sugary sports drinks and sodas that the body may need to dilute before it can use them.
A good rule of thumb for hydration is to drink about ½ ounce of water for every pound that you weigh. So, for instance, if a young player weighs 80 pounds, then they probably need 40 ounces of water each day.
Eat Healthy Meals
Also, we encourage players to eat whole foods whenever possible. Generally, we recommend saving protein bars, shakes, and supplements for when whole, natural foods aren’t readily available. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods can help players get the nutrients they need for their health and pitching performance. Keep in mind that overcooking vegetables can remove a lot of the nutrients, so opting for raw or lightly steamed may be the best option.
We also encourage young athletes to eat breakfast. Breakfast can help set the metabolic rate for the day. Skipping breakfast can also mean feeling hungrier later and reaching for sugary snacks that offer fast energy, but little nutrients.
Supplement Where Needed
In addition to whole foods and water, many young players also need supplements because it may be difficult to eat six to seven servings of fruits and vegetables every single day. So, your player may need a multivitamin to help fill any gaps in nutrients they get from their diet.
Also, in many cases different players may have different needs. For instance, one player might need a supplement for something more specific, like joint support or recovery. Therefore, it’s important to consider nutritional needs at an individualized level as well to help support health and performance for pitchers.
Pitching Instruction for All Ages and Skill Levels at National Pitching
Our coaches at National Pitching are here to help pitchers of all ages and skill levels improve their game. Our program is based on the Tom House Pitcher’s Health and Performance Matrix, which includes biomechanics, functional strength, nutrition, and mental management. We believe in providing pitchers a toolkit to help improve performance for years to come. Whether you’re looking to increase pitching velocity, control, or overall performance, we’re here to help you achieve your goals. Find a pitching coach near you or become a V.I.P. member for exclusive access to our pitching training videos online!