@ Carlton Football Club
ay good-bye to your off-season break and hello to late nights,
countless emails and ever-growing to-do lists. Yes, it’s that
time of the year. Already! Time to call upon your multitude of
skills and get the ball rolling (pun intended). Pre-season has arrived.
A well-structured pre-season is the key to a successful home and
away competition for my AFL women.
Whether our athletes are new to the club or returning, nutrition
screening is a must. A brief questionnaire is filled out at the start of
pre-season with the aim of highlighting individual nutrition and
performance goals. It also helps guide my education, targeting
common trends amongst the group.
Skinfold measurements are taken on each player at the beginning of
pre-season and then at the end. Changes in body composition help
explore the effect of training and the nutritional intervention, adding
quantitative value to the assessment/evaluation. The data collected is
then interpreted and used to guide both individual and group nutrition
interventions. As time is limited with the players individually, I make the
most of this opportunity and provide individualised feedback and
support where required. It’s often during these one-on-one
conversations, I’ll pick up on things that I otherwise would have
missed, making it an essential part of the screening process.
Social media is another great way Accredited Sports Dietitians share
their knowledge and expertise in a timely manner. I’ll use this space to
communicate with the group quite frequently, posting recipes, handy
hints, and reminders to fuel and hydrate. Reiterating key messages
goes a long way.
FOOD SERVICE/MEAL PLANNING
A dietitian is the most qualified person at a club when it comes to
planning meals. Why? We have the skillset to assess and calculate
total energy and nutrient requirements for both individuals and teams
- so it’s a no brainer we take the driver’s seat on the food service bus.
I also meet with caterers and discuss suitable meal options for training
sessions, specifying any dietary requirements.
One goal for athletes during pre-season is to improve fuel efficiency.
Developing a periodised carbohydrate plan in accordance with training
loads set by the high performance team assists in driving metabolic
Dietitian’s play a vital role in preparing athletes for competition. The pre-
season period is crucial for laying the foundations in education and
setting up systems that aim to improve athletic performance and
development. A well-structured nutrition program developed and
implemented by an Accredited Sports Dietitian can make all the
difference to the team’s success come Round One.
With limited time and resources, group education is the MVP! The
needs of the group will be addressed and my overall goals for pre-
season are to ensure athletes are eating enough to support their
training loads, that they’re recovering adequately from session to
session, and their nutrient intake is optimal for performance and
Kristen is an Accredited Sports Dietitian working with
the AFLW Carlton Football Club and in private practice at
Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic.
Summer 2019-20 ReFuel Magazine