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Ask the High Performance Lab - Feb. 20

May 25, 2008 12:25 PM

PLEASE NOTE: The medical opinions in USTA.com's Ask the High Performance Lab are responses intended for the average player. Please consult with your primary physician before beginning any new exercise program.

Scott works closely with the Coaching Education and Strength and Conditioning staff within High Performance, as well as the USTA Sport Science Committee, to collect and disseminate information related to sport science and tennis. Scott is also a Certifie© USTA
The answers to this week’s "Ask the Expert" column come from Scott Riewald, PhD. Dr. Riewald is the USTA Administrator of Sport Science. Dr. Riewald and the Sport Science staff work with Coaching Education to provide information to the coaches of top American players through seminars, workshops and newsletters.

Q: I am a graduate of your High Performance Coaching Program. My question is, “One of my players is now a freshman in college, she is trying to lose weight while training with her college team. Do have some either meal plans she could follow or a list of foods that should as well as should not be eaten?”

-- Terry Chambers, Los Angeles, CA

Riewald: Terry, several things come to mind in reading your question above. First, while the player is trying to lose weight, does she “think” she needs to lose weight or is she truly overweight?

This is not really a question for you to ask or answer and I strongly encourage you to connect the player with a sports nutritionist who can work with her to identify any nutritional concerns.

I actually recommend that as something you could do with all of your team members. Many universities have a nutrition program or nutritionists who work specifically with the athletes and if you ask around you should be able to find a nutritionist who can help your team.

As for prescribing a diet, again this is a question for a nutritionist who can assess the individual’s needs and current dietary practices. A couple of points though:

  • A player who is trying to lose weight should adjust calorie intake and not do something drastic like cutting all fat from his/ her diet. Fat is essential and should be included in the diet.
  • A carbohydrate-free diet is also the wrong way to go for athletes. Carbohydrates provide the energy to perform, and reducing carbohydrate intake will compromise performance on the court.

If you would like to submit a question that may be answered by our Health & Fitness team or want to share an idea for a future column, please click here.

Click here for USTA.com's Health & Fitness Archive.

Also, click here to visit the new USTA Player Development website!



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