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Unlike endurance sports, volleyball is stop and go, which is a good thing in terms of nutrition as you will have plenty of opportunities to stop for a drink or an energy bar during a match.  It’s important to remember that even the greatest volleyball players need to follow good nutrition to be on top of their game, and having enough energy to perform at your best is vital.  Keep reading to find out how to keep your body properly hydrated and nourished in the run up to a match.

The Day of the Match

On the day of a volleyball match, make sure to eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks throughout the day.  Try to stick to carbohydrates like pasta and bread, as well as vegetables and lean meats.  Avoid any foods that are high in processed sugar, as well as foods that you haven’t tried before.  If you are going to be away from home in the run up to the game, consider packing yourself a packed lunch, and storing it with freezer packs to keep it fresh.

The Pre-Game Meal

Your pre-game meal will be the most important thing you eat before your match, as this is what your body will draw its energy from whilst you compete.  So, choose your foods wisely.  Consider eating a mixture of low fat dairy, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and carbohydrates.  Supplement this with a lean form of protein such as chicken, turkey, fish or egg whites.  The recommended ration for your pre-game meal is between 50 and 65% carbs, between 10 and 25% protein, and less than 30% of healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and avocado.

During a Match

You will still have time to eat and drink during a match, and it is definitely worth refuelling when you get the chance – especially if the match is a long one, or goes on for longer than expected.  Pack some energy bars that you can keep at the side of the court (ideally one with a good ration of carbs to protein – 4:1 is ideal).  These can be eaten relatively quickly, and are sure to provide you with the burst of energy that you need.  Also make sure to bring along some sports drinks that you can use for hydration.  These contain sodium and potassium which can help your body replenish what it is losing through sweat.  The calories they provide can also help your muscles, especially towards the end of a tournament.


It’s recommendable to eat around 2 and a half hours before a match, as eating on a full stomach can make you feel queasy and sluggish.  If you haven’t prepared your day properly, try to stick to snacks in the run up to the game as opposed to a full meal – it’s not ideal, but at least you won’t feel sick whilst you’re playing.  Remember to keep yourself hydrated all day long as well, this way you will avoid muscle cramps, and keep your energy levels high.

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