March 28, 2010

Volleyball Food

It has been said that an army runs on its stomach and I think the same is true of college volleyball teams. A few observations which may apply to any coach trying to manage the meals of the always hungry.

  • Sit down and order type restaurants seem to always clock in around 2 hours from walk in to walk out, no matter how many wait staff they provide.
  • Salad bar style places are the way to go - Pay quickly, enough variety to keep everyone happy and you don't have to spend half the day there.
  • If there is not a good Salad bar type restaurant, then I have begun pre-ordering for the place we are going to. Most places will have the menus on line and the managers are more than happy to get the business, because most times, teams are eating away from the peak hours.
  • Mine is not one of those teams which can afford to stay at a full service hotel which has the meals waiting in a meeting room down stairs. The basketballs enjoy this set up, but I think it would get a bit un-culinary for my tastes (even if we were one of the anointed few).
  • If the budget is tight, wait as long as possible to feed the team dinner - If the players get hungry enough, they will suddenly feel that Subway is like the Cheesecake Factory.
  • Speaking of the Cheesecake Factory, they have a shrimp, bacon and tomato club sandwich that is so good it should be outlawed.
  • If you know you are playing a late match one night, with an early turn around to a noon'ish match the next day, absolutely do not eat big post match. I had a track coach tell me that they never let their kids eat late, until they have drank a full quart of Gatorade. The reasoning was the the body did not have time to process a meal and metabolize for the early next day's events. The Gatorade is easily processed, replenishes them and fills them up before eating, so they do not eat as much at the post-event dinner.
  • I learned to ask about this the hard way because we won a great match, ate like victors, and then lost the next day to a weak team because we were sluggish and slow.
  • If I am in that situation now, I say everything and more about winning, being smart, bribing with a great dinner at the end of the weekend, unlimited desserts and no dirty dishes, to convince them this will help us win.
  • Water, water and more water. Makes for many bathroom breaks, but when doing any traveling, if a player gets dehydrated, they are burnt toast.
  • Sometimes, you just gotta have a cheeseburger and fries.
  • Whatever you make off limits, your team will just make that their food of choice when they are away from the coach. If possible, we should make fruit off limits in the hope they would eat more fruit. Heck, I should make fruit off limits to me, so I would react to myself and eat more fruit.
In the end, if you can pass, you will win, no matter if you eat papayas from Tahiti or cheeseburgers from Chicago!

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