The Physical Demands of Soccer

Mention that when soccer players fuel their bodies with good food, this does not make them the MVP, but rather, it ensures, along with bodily things, that they perform to the best of their abilities. Yikes… gotta get a better sentence than that. If there was a list of all of the sports played across the entire world, and if you went further to say how physically intense, soccer would be very near, if not at, the top. (Davis) For the spectators who have never played the sport, they may not realize the intense requirements the player’s body performs, perhaps thinking it easy.

Whether positioned on defense or offense, players are constantly performing various moves, such as jogging, sprinting to open space, back peddling, running laterally up the field, kicking, shooting, and doing throw-ins.

Throughout a ninety-minute soccer game, players expend 1,500-2,000 calories that's a day’s worth of calories for some people! (Davis) Players need plenty of energy to execute the various tasks needed to play a great game.

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Players need to make sure they are consuming enough calories in order to keep up with the physical demands of not only the games played throughout the week, but also the demands of the practices and separate workout sessions. What happens if a soccer athlete is malnourished, meaning that a player consumes too few or too many nutrients for their lifestyle. (Boyle) While a player may not get to the extreme of undernutrition or overnutrition (both are dangerous forms of malnutrition), a player can definitely suffer from lack of nutritious foods to fuel their game.

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If a player consumes too few nutrients, they can become lethargic and develop slow reflexes, whereas if a player consumes too many nutrients, they can

Introducing the Nutrients… just introduce These various tasks require fuel, however. There are many misconceptions about what one should eat before an elite game. It is, however, very important for a player to consume a variety of nutritious foods before a game. Some of these nutrients include: Carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Although carbohydrates have very little energy, compared to fat and protein, the human body uses carbohydrates as the “most important type of fuel” during an intense game. Carbohydrates are used during quick, strenuous times in a game, such as sprinting; it gives energy to the muscles in this short time frame. (Davis) Carbohydrates contain about 4 calories. (PER WHAT)??(Boyle)

Fat supplies the body with energy during the longer, less-intense levels of the match. (Davis) It contains 9 calories per gram, making it supply over half of the energy that it would receive from a gram of carbohydrate. (Davis) In addition to providing a hefty supply of energy to the body, fat also acts as an insulator to vital organs, protecting them from any dangerous play involved during the match. Specify which type of fat. Healthy fats are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and omega fatty acids. Protein is essential in any diet, especially that of an elite soccer player. It serves to grow and maintain muscles, tendons, teeth, bones, ligaments, hair, and nails. (Davis, is this list plagiarism?) Some more info on this topic. How many calories per what??

How much and what does that look like? It is one thing to know what to eat, but how much of that substance is another story. 60-65% of a soccer player’s plate should be carbohydrates. (davis) What does this look like? Foods that are good sources of carbohydrates include rice, pasta, whole-wheat breads, cereals (high-fiber), potatoes, ect. (plag? Or could I just look up good sources of this nutrient?) (davis) Sample meal plan? 20-25% of a soccer player’s plate should include healthy fats, like mackerel, salmon, olive oil, avocado, nuts. (again. Plag?) (Davis)

The final 10-15% should come from protein, such as fish, poultry, low-fat milk, and lean, red meats. (davis) Many people believe the misconception that if you consume more protein, then you will grow more muscle. This is false. No one should consume excess protein unless they are elite athletes or are just starting to workout. (Boyle) Your body does not use the excess to build muscle, unless you work your muscles. “Muscle building is a supply and demand process,” which means that in order to grow your muscles, you must work them. Protein should be consumed scattered throughout the day, rather than all at one sitting.

Timing is Everything… In order to for a player to excel on the field, timing is everything. It is not enough to just eat right. Eating at the right time can make or break how you play. It can be the difference between excelling on the field or falling flat. This goes hand in hand with your glycogen stores. What is glycogen? (explain) Glycogen loading is when you decrease your time at the gym and increase the amount of carbohydrates consumed in the days leading up to a game. (Garret) The recommendation for glycogen loading is consuming 5-6 grams of carbohydrates for every kilogram of body weight. Doing this within twenty-four hours will ensure proper glycogen loading.

The days leading up to a game are the most important for players to fill their bodies with the right foods. What should a player eat on game day? Although the food consumed by a player the day of the game is important, it has little effect on performance, compared to the effects of the meals consumed several days before. Nevertheless, what a player eats the day of is still important. Some important tips to remember while fueling up before a game are that you should try not consume food within an hour of playtime, but more importantly, strike carbohydrates from the menu before this time.

Updated: May 22, 2022
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The Physical Demands of Soccer. (2022, May 22). Retrieved from

The Physical Demands of Soccer essay
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