Any player who has ever played in a Double Header, from 8U Select tournaments to the MLB, knows how hard it is to compete in Game 2. It's especially hard in the heat of the summer and it's even harder in a Select tournament when your 2nd game is against a team playing in their first game of the day - it's almost not fair.
I started playing Select ball at 12U and continued all the way through High School ball and, unfortunately, not once did I ever have a coach that had a "plan" or taught us how to keep our energy up during a double header other than to try to stay hydrated.
Here's what Harrison Bader, center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, had to say about how important eating during a double header is to stay competitive:
On those long days where you’ve got a doubleheader, there's no doubt you have to replenish all those calories lost - from the physical calories lost to the mental calories lost. All these things matter so much (for performance) and for all the calories you use, you have to replenish them (through eating).
So now that I've done several interviews with our pro players who constantly mention how important nutrition is, I decided to dig a little deeper to into whether or not there's a way to keep a player's energy up and stay hydrated so you and your teammates don't fall apart in game 2.
So we contacted Margaret Conner, Nutrition Specialist/Consultant, who helped us write our first Nutrition blog "BE BETTER: Doing Breakfast Right" to see what she recommended, inning by inning, to help BRUCE BOLT players BE BETTER and up there game during double headers.
ARRIVAL AT THE FIELDS/WARMUP:
If you've eaten a quality breakfast as recommended in our "Doing Breakfast Right" blog, you should be feeling hydrated, fed and ready to warm up.
If you don't like to eat much early in the morning, getting one protein-heavy snack at the start of warmup is ideal (see list below).
So here's what to do during Game 1.....
GAME 1 BEGINS:
- STAY HYDRATED: Water bottles need to be out in the dugout and sipped throughout the entire game. Every inning in the dugout you should be just sipping on your water bottle. Your biggest enemy on a hot summer day is dehydration. The name of the game is STAY HYDRATED.
- STAY ENERGIZED: Pack 2-3 protein-heavy snacks (see list below) to eat during the game. At the very least, one snack should be eaten in the dugout during the 3rd or 4th inning so your body can start to digest it. If you're hungry, it's ok to eat several times throughout the game. The important thing here is having enough energy so your body doesn't crash in Game 2
- REALLY STAY HYDRATED: Once Game 1 ends, finish what's left of your water and get more if you feel thirsty.
Your break between games will vary weekend to weekend, but generally, a light lunch is ideal if you have time.
A larger meal is recommended if the break is 2 hours or longer.
EAT THESE FOODS:
- guacamole (comes in snack size)
- trail mix, granola
- power bars, energy bars
- hard boiled eggs
- sliced or whole fruit
- nut butters/combined with fruit or crackers. Often sold in snack packs.
- other healthy snack packs (cheese/pretzel, nut butter, yogurt, hummus, guacamole)
- low sugar yogurt
- cottage cheese
- cheese sticks
- carrots, celery sticks, edamame
- low sugar smoothies
- protein drinks
- canned tuna/salmon
- premade chicken/tuna salad
- premade sandwiches
- sliced deli meat
- roast chicken
Get your water bottle refilled and keep it close by to drink slowly while you eat.
GAME TWO BEGINS:
- STAY HYDRATED AGAIN: Similar to the first game: Water bottles need to be out in the dugout and sipped throughout the entire game.
- EAT PROTEIN: Bag should be packed with 2-3 protein-heavy snacks during the game.
- STAY AWAY FROM SUGARS: At the very least, one snack should be eaten during the game to prevent crashing, 2-3 eaten if player is feeling low energy or hungry.
WHAT TO AVOID:
- Candy and Candy Bars
- Sugary Drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, sodas etc.
- Fried Food
- Any Processed Foods
HOW TO PREPARE: At most ball parks, these foods aren't even close to an option, which means your meals and the foods you eat need to be planned and prepared at home before the tournament even begins. It's important to go shopping, have a good cooler and really think out how to prepare your meals.
If you think about how hard you train, how much you've paid for your equipment, the commitment you've made to your team, the energy your parents are expending to allow you to play the greatest sport in the world, why would you not do the one thing that will definitely help you play better. If your body and your mind are fed, you will play better. Remember, at BRUCE BOLT we always ask how we can BE BETTER, from our products, to our operations, to our customer service, community outreach and everything else we touch. We hope the players that wear our brand also live by that motto. Nutrition is that one thing almost every player can BE BETTER so make it happen.
Good luck this weekend, we hope this helped and always try to BE BETTER!
To learn more about nutrition & kids or work with Margaret one-on-one, go to MargaretConnor.com
Stay tuned for more content in our "BE BETTER" series to continue to hone in your competitive edge!
Margaret Connor, MPH is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Functional Nutrition Counselor and Certified Holistic Health Coach.