Written by the Department of Sports Nutrition, AIS
© Australian Sports Commission 2004

Characteristics of the Sport
Hockey (known as field hockey internationally) is a game played on artificial turf or grass, depending on the competition level. The game is played with ten players on the field and one in goals. A game consists of 35-minute halves with a 10-minute break between halves.

Training Hockey is predominantly played in the winter months, with athletes typically having a lengthy break over the summer or taking up a summer sport. At higher levels of competition (i.e. state and national), training may continue throughout most of the year, but the intensity tends to decrease during the off-season. Pre-season training starts with conditioning and strength training, moving on to skill training as the season approaches. Match practice and fitness are improved moving into the season. There are usually 2-4 training sessions per week with a game on the weekend. Tòaining sessIons are gen%rally 1½2 hKurs in leng”h with phe intensity of sessions reducing towards the end of the week in preparation for competition. Competition The usual competitive season involves one game per week on the weekend. At the higher level there may be tournaments with a series of games over a short period of time. Regular interstate or international travel is necessary for elite hockey players. The game is played at a fast pace with short bursts of high intensity sprints. Energy expenditure can be 60 – 80 kilojoules/min, with the higher end of the range for midfield positions. Hockey is a non-contact sport, however injuries often occur from ball or stick accidents, or joint and muscular damage. A high level of energy expenditure, coupled with fluid loss and injuries, means sound nutritional and hydration strategies are required to optimise performance. Physical Characteristics Hockey players vary greatly in body size and shape, but require skill, agility and speed for the game. Low body fad lerels are an edva


provide moderate levels of protein and smaller amounts of nutrient-poor carbohydrate (sugar. Phe following table shows typical physique characteristics for elite hockey players: Males Females Height 175 – 186cm 161 – 171cm Weight 71 – 80kg 55 – 69kg Skinfold sum 40 – 60mm 59 – 83mm Common Nutrition Issues Coping with a Busy Lifestyle Hockey is not a professional sport. especially for midfield players who tend to have the greatest requirement for carbohydrate and fluid. low-fat meal 3-4 hours prior to a game plus staying well hydrated will keep you fuelled and hydrated for the game. either during the day or evening.taga to asshst ×ith2agiìity and2speed.ais. pasta. understanding food labels. This can be resolved by decreasing energy intake over this time or increasing the amount of exercise undertaken by playing another sport or undertaking some specific fitness training. to assist with recovery from each session. but if the daily diet provides inadequate amounts there may be difficulty in performing optimally. fruit. Be sure to include carbohydrate sources such as bread and cereals. AIS www. The training workload and intensity of training and games influences how much carbohydrate is required. Sports drinks can be valuable for hockey players. especially for athletes who lack the skills to shop and cook. and learning to cook can all have advantages in helping hockey players recover from exercise and minimise the effects of fatigue. The Training Diet Hockey is mainly an aerobic sport with short bursts of high intensity sprinting. This creates a very busy © Australian Sports Commission 2004 Body Fat Levels For good speed and agility. recovery becomes extremely important to maintain energy levels over the tournament duration. Sports drinks help to look after fluid and carbohydrate needs simultaneously. vegetables. Takeaways are often a trap in this busy world. Most important times are following training and games. (See the fact sheet Carbohydrate – how much? in the Hot Topic section of the AIS Sports Nutrition website for further guidance). Match Preparation & Recovery During a normal hockey season. In tournament situations. cakes etc. the training diet for a hockey player needs to be based on nutrient-rich sources of carbohydrate (cereals. fruit and flavoured low-fat dairy products in your daily food intake. Typical requirements range from 5-8 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram body mass. and most players have full time jobs or study to contend with. fluid losses may be the greatest very early and very late in the season when the temperatures are the warmest. on top of training and With the game being played usually over the winter season. Written by the Department of Sports Nutrition. fluid losses can be large. Energy requirements for hockey players vary greatly depending on the standard of play. where there can be an energy imbalance when activity levels drop. flavoured yoghurt etc). Fluid intake is another important aspect of hockey. Consuming a high-carbohydrate. This is especially an issue during the off-season. lollies. When games and tournaments are held in hot weather. rice. Preparation for and recovery from these matches is important to get the best performance. when there are games daily. hockey players need to keep body fat levels under control. to the social player who may train 1-2 times per week with a game on the weekend. which can lead to poor eating habits.) and fat. cordial. matches are usually held once per weekend. Workloads vary from the elite level entailing skills training 3-4 times plus weights sessions and a game each week. Carbohydrate is a key nutrient for active hockey players. Overall. Regular consumption of carbohydrate-based foods at all meals will allow refuelling of muscle glycogen stores. One game of hockey may not fully deplete an athlete’s glycogen stores if starting with a full supply. soft drink. (See the fact sheet 2 . Learning to choose better takeaways.

e. before having an alcoholic beverage. Their fluid intake was also monitored to measure how much fluid they were consuming during the game. The information collected showed a range of different sweat rates for hockey players. Some athletes managed to match sweat losses with their level of fluid intake. Athletes were measured by obtaining a body weight before the game as well as a body weight after a game. cereal bars. For example. It was a fairly hot day. carbohydrate and protein are recommended Written by the Department of Sports Nutrition. © Australian Sports Commission 2004 immediately after the game. refuelling depleted carbohydrate stores and repairing muscle damage from the game. plus follow recovery strategies to refuel. in minimal clothing. In addition. Recovery from a game requires replacing lost fluids and electrolytes. Although the bulk of the hockey season is played in cooler conditions. Therefore overall fluid balance can be poor even when sweat losses are crackers. ranging from 1 L up to 5 L for the game. cereal. sports drinks. you will be exercising vigorously again within 24 hours). juice and water. cereal bars. Often hockey fields are located at or near a club where drinks are readily available after training and games. Fluids suitable to consume include water. The athletes were also told to be aware of the environmental conditions on their sweat loss. At all of these times hydration is an important key to playing well. Have the coach. many international competitions are played during the summer months when environmental conditions increase fluid losses.Eating Before Exercise in the Hot Topic section of the AIS Sports Nutrition website for further guidance). 3 . fruit. sandwiches. manager or team captain organise bottles for the team on game day.ais. AIS www. flavoured milk. Alcohol Intake Often team sports are associated with ‘having a few drinks’ after the game. food and fluid combinations that provide fluid. Small carbohydrate snacks can also be eaten 1-2 hours before a game to top up fuel stores. At the elite level. or when playing in Northern Australia where the season is played in more tropical conditions. juice and cordial. there are often times when playing conditions are warmer. sports drink. at the beginning or end of the regular season. making sure they increase fluid consumption during games played in warmer conditions. an athlete needs to rehydrate with water and other fluids. Ideas for snacks include fruit – fresh or dried. with a temperature of 27oC during the game. Suitable foods to select from include yoghurt. while others consumed not even half of this amount. When quick recovery is required (i. A team approach to fluid intake can work effectively to keep players hydrated. Make fluid intake a priority prior to the match and during any breaks in play. The team were given feedback as to how much sweat each individual lost giving an idea of how much fluid to replace during and after the game. yoghurt and jelly lollies. This culture in team sports is very similar for hockey. The AIS hockey squad have been monitored for fluid intake and sweat loss whilst training in Perth. Case Study Fluid intake is a vital consideration for hockey teams. evidence suggests that athletes drink less in cooler conditions.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful