Drink water throughout the competition
Many people know that the human body is nearly two-thirds water, but most people don’t drink the recommended 8-10 glasses of water per day. This is especially important for people who are active or outside for long periods of time.
Did you know that athletes who don’t get enough water and become dehydrated may see a 30% decrease in performance? Dehydration is what happens when you take in less water than your body is using. It can cause fatigue, nausea, headaches, weakness, and can become serious if untreated.
Dehydration is common in situations where you may be exerting yourself, particularly in sun or wind. Luckily, you can prevent dehydration easily by drinking water throughout the day. It is best to not wait until you become thirsty, but rather be proactive by drinking often.
Most outdoor tournament venues provide water coolers where you can refill your water bottle as often as you like. They also may provide concessions with options like sports drinks, juice, or other beverages. Although experts debate whether or not caffeine will lead to dehydration, you should keep in mind that drinks with caffeine might make you feel jittery, especially if you are already nervous or excited about competing.
Water, sports drinks, and juice are the best choices for staying hydrated on the archery field. Sports drinks and juice have the added benefit of replenishing electrolytes and other nutrients, but you can also achieve the same results with a bottle of water and some fruit or nuts.
Maintaining the right blood sugar levels
Tournaments are fun in part because they provide an exciting change from everyday life. However, that means during a tournament you may not be eating like you normally would and might even forget to eat. This may be because your routine has changed or because you can’t find your favorite brand of breakfast cereal while you are traveling on the road. Some archers feel too nervous or excited at the start of the day and are reluctant to eat a heavy meal. Others may hesitate to eat at fast food restaurants near the tournament venue, but don’t know how to find quick, healthy alternatives.
While all these are important considerations, it is very important to make sure you eat well during a tournament to maintain your blood sugar. This is a measurement of the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Instead of referring to the amount of sugary foods and drinks you have consumed, your blood sugar simply points to whether or not you have eaten recently.
Like dehydration, having low blood sugar can make you feel weak, faint, and could result in decreased performance. The best solution is to plan ahead and bring healthy snacks to keep you going throughout the day.
Pack yourself a snack
If you snack throughout the day, you will not have to worry about becoming faint from hunger, or feeling weighted down by a large meal. You should also plan to bring something for your midday meal, like a sandwich. Even when you are traveling to a new city, you should be able to find many of these items at a grocery or convenience store.
Some healthy snacks that won’t melt or give you messy hands:
- Bananas, grapes, and apples
- Nutritious breakfast bars
- Baby carrots, broccoli florets, and cherry tomatoes
- Crackers, mixed nuts, and trail mix
Resources for more information on hydration, blood sugar, and nutrition for athletes:
- “What to Drink for Proper Hydration During Exercise” by Elizabeth Quinn of About.com, April 2011
- “Attention Athletes: Eat Your Vegetables” by Rip Esselstyn of The Huffington Post, March 2009
- “Daily Foundation Eating: How to Maintain Blood Sugar and Reduce Inflammation” by Bob Seebohar for USA Triathalon, 2011
- “Nutrition Periodization for Athletes: Taking Traditional Sports Nutrition to the Next Level” by Bob Seebohar, RD