When one focuses on improving their basketball performance regardless of skill level, he or she tends to look at improving their various techniques first.  An avid basketball player is keenly aware of the potential weaknesses that they have to improve on.   He or she will know if their jump shot needs work or if they need to work on improving their handling of the basketball.   It may be that a player may need to get their act together on the defensive end.

However, it is also quite plausible that individuals will improve their basketball performance by getting in the best physical shape possible.   However, a key aspect of getting into great physical fitness is ensuring that you are eating the proper foods.   We will go over those foods in this piece.  

Given that basketball is a high-intensity sport with a lot of physicality involved, one must fuel themselves with the right foods for optimal performance.  The ideal category of foods for basketball players is carbohydrates.   Basketball players should have a diet that is rich in carbohydrates.  According to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, 

55% of a basketball player’s total diet should consist of carbs such as fruits, vegetables, bread, pasta, and rice.

The American Dietetic Association offers recommendations for how many carbohydrates per pound of body weight one must have per day. They believe that basketball players require at least 2.7 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight per day.  For basketball players that are playing competitively, they need 3.6 to 4.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight.

Additionally, avid basketball players will need to eat foods rich in protein if they want to build and keep lean body mass.   Good sources of protein for basketball players are chicken, turkey, beef, and fish.  Other great sources of protein are great for cheese, yogurt, and eggs.  

Some may be surprised by this next category of foods that basketball players need.   However, basketball players can improve their performance by consuming healthy sources of fat.  Basketball players should consume fats that are heart-healthy such as nuts.   Other great sources of heart-healthy fats are avocado and olive oil.  Basketball players also should consume foods with Omega-3 fats such as salmon.

In order for basketball players to have an optimal diet, they cannot sabotage themselves by eating foods that could stall their progress.   Players must avoid eating saturated fats such as beef fats and trans fats such as processed foods.  Additionally, basketball players should avoid eating dairy foods that are high in fat.

January 20, 2023 — Jeremiah Oglesby