Basketball is a high-intensity sport that requires a combination of power, speed, strength and agility. College basketball games are structured with two 20–min halves with a 15–min halftime. Many colleges will play about 25–35 games per season, depending on the level (NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, or NJCAA) and tournament play. Most programs will practice 4–6 days per week, depending on the game schedule, and practices may be up to 3 h of high-intensity work.1 On the college level, energy demands being met are very limited because class schedules do vary by semester, food is sometimes provided, but not always and that doesn’t mean that the food provided will meet the energy demands of the players, and the players are still in college and have to maintain their grades to keep playing.
Success in the game of basketball is dependent upon both aerobic and anaerobic performance as well as sprinting, strength, and jumping ability. Dehydration (>2%) has been found to consistently impair aerobic performance; however, mild to moderate dehydration (up to 2—5%) does not appear to affect athletes’ muscular strength, jumping, short- term sprinting, or anaerobic performance.2 Because most basketball games are at night, athletes sleep schedules are pushed back and since they are tired and worn down they don’t prioritize food over their sleep, although it is important. A basketball player’s body goes through a substantial amount of wear and tear and nutrition is an essential part of a speedy and full recovery.
1. Physiologic Profile of Basketball Athletes. Gatorade Sports Science Institute. http://www.gssiweb.org/sports-science-exchange/article/physiologic-profile-of-basketball-athletes#articleTopic_2. Accessed August 6, 2018.
2. Hydration Science and Strategies for Basketball. Gatorade Sports Science Institute. http://www.gssiweb.org/sports-science-exchange/article/sse-165-hydration-science-and-strategies-for-basketball. Accessed August 6, 2018.