This is part 2 of the series "What every cricketer ought to know about nutrition". To go to part 1 click here.
A leisurely summer tea of cucumber sandwiches and cream cakes is an enduring image of cricket in England and shows how deep the link between club cricket and nutrition goes.
But cricket teas, lunches and drinks prepared by the vicar's wife are more than just age old traditions. The body has a basic need for food for survival and has a specific need for food to play cricket.
Food Gives Us Energy
Everything we do from fast bowling to sleeping requires us to expend energy. We get this energy though our diet (measured in calories or kcal).
The requirement varies depending on how much you play, how old you are, what sex you are, your body size/build and what other activities you do. But without a sufficient store of the right energy we cannot perform at our best and our game suffers.
Plus, its no secret that eating too much means we put on weight. This is because our body stores energy that it cannot use as fat.
Cricketers have no need to be as slim as distance runners but we do need to make sure we dont put on too much fat. Fat is 'dead weight' and will reduce our speed, endurance and agility without increasing our 'power behind the ball' as many people believe.
So food is a balance - making sure we eat enough to supply our bodies without piling on the pound.
Food Helps Us Feel better
Beyond the basic, and slightly cold, needs of the body is the importance of food in our daily lives.
Many players trust in certain foods to improve their performance when there is no strict benefit. Whats important here is the boost people get from eating, rather than the energy.
Also, eating together with friends and team mates is a great way to be sociable. Often this is at the expense of the right energy foods, but its better to have a balanced life with the occasional fish supper than a strict diet and no mates.
It's good news then. There is no need sack the vicar's wife and replace her with a nutritionist, just a need to be more aware of the role of food in our games of cricket. She will be pleased.
Click here to go to the next part where we examine the sorts of foods that give you the most advantage to your game.© Copyright miSport Holdings Ltd 2008