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Physical and Emotional Growth in Sport with Leaders of Evolution

At Leaders of Evolution, we have researched and updated courses on student-athlete leadership and development, believing that healthy emotional and physical support are key aspects of succeeding as a young athlete. Leaders of Evolution has benefited a number of athletic programs and schools with our holistic approach of purposeful learning and development. At Leaders of Evolution, we know that having a healthy relationship for yourself physically through training and nutrition is a key aspect in maintaining emotional balance as well. 

Sports Nutrition | Leaders of Evolution

Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes

Sports Dieticians Australia (SDA) and Griffith University researched and developed nutrition requirements and recommendations for young athletes between the ages of 12-18 years. The nutrition in sports recommendations is specifically for young athletes with a high level of participation and daily training. The nutrition requirements focus on growth and development for both active adolescents and competitive adolescents. Those with an elite-level of training should find individual nutrition requirements and assistant from licensed dieticians.

SDA’s nutrition in sports recommendations includes moderate eating patterns that include larger meals and regular snacking in between each meal. On top of growth and development, SDA and researchers prioritize young athletes having a healthy lifelong relationship with food and maintenance of a healthy body image. As young athletes begin training, their bodies can grow dramatically, and new relationships with their bodies may form. A holistic approach to nutrition provides young athletes with an early start to caring for themselves, their bodies and their habits. 

Nutrition in Sports: Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat

Carbohydrates, protein and fat nutrition requirements for young athletes are similar to those of active adults. Athletes should consider their daily activity and the demands of their training when considering the number of carbohydrates to take in for wholesome nutrition in sports. Protein nutrition requirements are about 1.3-1.8 per kg per day but are also dependent on the amount of energy exerted over the day’s training.

Fat intake parallels the nutrition requirements from public health guidelines, which state that fat should contribute about 20-35% of total energy intake. No more than 10% of total energy should come for saturated and trans fats, which include the fat from meats and processed foods. Instead, athletes can get their fat nutrition requirements from nuts like almonds and walnuts and avocados.

Nutrition in Sports: Iron

The nutrition requirements for iron in young athletes varies on age and sex. For boys ages, 9-13 years, 8mg/d is recommended, and for boys ages 14-18, 11mg/d. For girls ages 9-13, 8mg/d and for girls ages 14-18, 15 mg/d. Sources of iron include pork, chicken, eggs, fish, some breakfast cereals, baked beans and more.

Nutrition in Sports: Calcium and Vitamin D

Young athletes oftentimes do not meet the calcium nutrition requirements, so it is important to include calcium-rich foods for holistic nutrition in sports. These foods include cheese yoghurt and calcium-fortified soy products for those that do not eat dairy. Much of Vitamin D can be acquired through healthy levels of exposure to sunlight. Young athletes can supplement Vitamin D if necessary and should monitor these levels consistently.

Nutrition in Sports: Body Image 

Emphasizing a certain body image or unique look for optimal goals in nutrition in sports or for success in athletic performance can lead to unhealthy eating attitudes and relationships with food. Family, friends, coaches and any adults have an important role in implementing positive body image practice in young athletes. Professionals should be utilized either as a proactive step in maintaining healthy body image in young athletes or if athletes display any unhealthy or concerning body image behaviours. 

Leaders of Evolution agree that nutrition in sports is focused on growth and development and long-term health within young athletes. “It is important that athletes understand that body composition is only one contributor to sports performance.” Learn more about sports nutrition requirements at sportsdietitians.com.au.

Emotional Growth with Leaders of Evolution

Now that we’ve covered the basic nutrition requirements of young athletes, we can turn to the second topic in student-athlete development: emotional wellbeing. At Leaders of Evolution, we have developed courses that focus on on-field and off-field leadership skills. Young athletes are influenced easily, so at Leaders of Evolution, we believe in striving for young athletes to have positive impacts on themselves, one another and even on coaches and adults. This can occur through the strengthening of various leadership characteristics and essential skills, such as positive impact, discipline and resilience. 

Impact

The purpose of cultivating leadership skills is to have a positive impact on those around you. This impact can come in various styles, such as encouraging teammates and working hard with them. Your behaviour as an effective leader is making others better and encouraging them to be the best they can be. The impact can lead to a team’s boost in confidence, motivation and overall success. 

Discipline

Maintaining discipline in high-stress situations on the field and even off requirements strong emotional intelligence and practice. Recognizing the power of your emotions can lead you and your team where they need to be, even if there isn’t much time to decide. With strong discipline you can learn to trust your judgement as a leader, placing the wellbeing of your team ahead of your own needs at times and striving for the success of your team.

Resilience 

Resilience is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness,” according to the Oxford Dictionary. Having resilience is more difficult said than done, but once cultivated as a skill, can help you and your team emerge from tough times and into greatness. Leaders of Evolution believes that athletes that possess resilience are strong leaders and can positively influence those around them to be resilient as well. 

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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.

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Isabella Grella

Excited to be exploring the intersection of emerging tech and professionalism for Leaders of Evolution. While a huge music and social-media junkie, Bella takes time to go offline and run, hike and travel with friends.

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