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Helping local athletes keep pace with peers

Sports Scope
  • Pictured is the under-17 national female football team at a seminar conducted by Dr. Patti Symonette. Fred Sturrup / TNG

Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive

Published: Apr 24, 2012

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The changing times in the world of sports make it absolutely necessary for athletes to keep pace with technology and avail themselves of experts on nutrition if they wish to be successful. Gone are the days when athletes could rely on natural physical talent alone.

There are many technical aspects to training and competing. The nutritional impact on performances is monumental. Recognizing what is available to athletes now makes one marvel at the achievements of those former Bahamian sports ambassadors who came from extremely humble backgrounds, yet rose to high levels of accomplishments.

I know of athletes who often trained on empty stomachs. Yet, they managed. It’s a different era now.

Today we are excelling in sports, but the challenge is a huge one. In order to stand a chance against their peers, athletes must respond to the demands of the body, according to former top sports figure Dr. Patti Symonette who is an authority on nutritional education. Recently, Dr. Symonette conducted a seminar requested by the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) for the benefit of the under-17 national female team that will be playing in the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Final this coming May 2-10 in Guatemala.

The athletes are on the verge of history. When they take the field in Guatemala, it will mark the highest point Bahamian soccer has gone in all the many decades since it was introduced to this country.

“In order for you to compete consistently at the international level, remember that your bodies must be kept like fine-tuned machines that need the best mix of fuels to operate at peak performance. For many athletes, especially young females, nutrition is usually the missing link. Eating right/proper nutrition can improve performance. Athletes should not skip meals. Breakfast is the meal of champions and the most important meal of an athlete’s day. When you skip breakfast, you not only rob your body of the nutrients needed for health, but also you will lack the energy needed for high performance workouts. Excuses to skip breakfast are abundant, but they are just excuses and will sabotage your performance both on and off the field. Carbohydrates are the most important fuel source for the brain, muscles and recovery. You are responsible for what you put in your bodies,” she told the soccer “hopes” of the nation.

The young soccer stars will need all the advice, assistance and overall professional guidance they can get. Ahead of them in consecutive matches on May 3 and May 5 are teams from the United States and Mexico. Those two countries pay lots of attention to their athletes. It will be a steep climb indeed for our young players. That’s why they are being exposed to experts like Dr. Symonette. It’s safe to say though that the BFA is doing its best to prepare the under-17 squad.

Best wishes to them! Hopefully the input of Dr. Symonette and others will enable the team to be very competitive against the much more experienced squads.

To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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