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  • Writer's pictureStefanie Rock

7 tips for playing your best at tournaments

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

There's no doubt that tournaments are a great opportunity for team building, exciting travel, and competing against new teams... but they can also be exhausting! They're also another example of why "eat like the pros" doesn't work for youth and teen athletes- pros don't play 4, 5, or 6 games in a weekend.

Fortunately, focusing on a few essential fueling and foundation ideas before and during the tournament can help athletes stay energized and recovered from game one to the final championship game.

On your way to your next tournament?

Try these 7 tips for playing your best games:

  1. Focus on fueling! Energy and endurance are built on more than one pre-game meal. Build the habit of eating frequently (every 2-3 hours) before you arrive at the tournament. Remember, the digestion of protein and fats for usable energy generally takes about 4 hours.

So opt for larger meals whenever you have the most digestion time before/after practices & games.

  1. Hydrate! Maintaining at least minimum hydration is essential for energy, focus, endurance, and recovery. How much do you need? Start with 1/2 your body weight (lbs) as ounces. For example: 120 lbs = 60 ounces of water. Your body will need more to make up for sweat, but focus on consistently reaching minimum hydration throughout the day first!

  2. Post-workout snack! To help the body recover from exertion, and to help prepare for the next game/workout, have a small carbohydrate snack within 30-45 minutes post-workout. Fruit, bagel, pasta, 1/2 a sandwich, or rice are great options. Chocolate milk is another good opti

on if your stomach can tolerate more during that short window.

  1. Prepare for delays! Between travel and games, you're bound to have delays. Pack extra fueling snacks (fruit, granola, trail mix, sandwiches, or pretzels) to maintain energy consistency.

  2. Water for the road! Airplanes are incredibly dehydrating. Minimize or avoid caffeine, and drink extra water on the flight. Driving? Bathroom breaks may seem inconvenient, but hydrating en route will better prepare your body for the first game.

  1. Fuel between games! Only a few hours between games? Carbohydrates are your champion fuel! Yes, protein is important, but it's also slow to digest. With only 2 hours between games, focus on carbs first with a little lean protein: rice with chicken or edamame, French toast with a scrambled egg, pasta with a little meat sauce, or a wrap sandwich with chicken or turkey,

  2. Get sleep! Tournaments can feel like a weekend sleepover party with friends, but sleep is when the body repairs and recovers. Try to meet your 7-9 hours of recommended sleep so your body is best prepared for the next game. Early morning game? Use naps to your advantage to help meet sleep needs.

Although they're definitely high-activity, tournaments should also be a fun, memorable experience... not one that leaves you sore and exhausted for days to follow. Practicing these 7 tips will help athletes sustain energy and support recovery to thrive through the long weekend.

Need help choosing the best hotel and travel fuel for your athlete's needs? Concerned that all four of their foundation pillars aren't solid enough to support their game and growth?

Let's chat! Click here with questions to see if Rock Performance is right for your athlete or family.


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