I received a call today from someone asking if I’d be interested in giving a presentation to a highly competitive traveling youth soccer team about nutrition and performance. He said the kids are good players but have no idea how to eat for performance. I love talking with kids about nutrition, exercise, and performance so I jumped at the opportunity.
Highly competitive youth athletes can get away with eating whatever they want up to a point. But when the last 15 minutes of a game requires the same level of intensity and energy that the first 15 minutes did, it’s going to come down to more than their mental focus and physical conditioning. It’s going to come down to their nutrition on and off the field.
These kids are 16-17 years old, but they’re still kids. One thing about speaking to a younger audience that I always try to remember is what it was like to be a kid; how I processed information and how quickly I tuned-out if I sensed BS or something just got boring. As a kid (hell, even as an adult), your mind can always find a better place to be when it’s disinterested.
That’s one of the reasons I like working with kids. They not only force you to be honest, but they force you to do it in a way that’s also entertaining and concise. They gotta get something out of it fast, something that they can immediately see a benefit from, or they’re out.
To teach a competitive athlete about healthy foods, proteins, carbs, and fats is one thing, but to teach them how to use all this information to bring up their game a few notches, well that’s something special.
These kids want to be a little faster on the field and not run out of energy, and they know that a slight improvement in performance means the potential to be a star. To be the best. To be recognized and to win. I can help them connect the dots between their time in the kitchen and their time on the field, and when they experience that, they experience the power of nutrition, and it can be a game changer.
And that’s what this is about for me.