Nutrition in Netball

Tessa Funk
Accredited Practicing Sports Dietitian & Nutritionist
I: @tessafunk.nutrition

Netball  Nutrition  Timeline

We’ve all heard the saying “fail to prepare and you’re preparing to fail”. Proper nutrition is a vital part of preparation if you want to optimise your performance and be the best netball player you can be! To perform at our best we need to make sure we go to training and practice our skills, but if we aren’t fuelling our bodies correctly then we are not going to recover from games/training or have the stamina and energy to play at the highest level across 4 quarters. 


Netball requires endurance, strength, speed, agility, co-ordination and the ability to make quick decisions. When we fuel correctly we can drive for the ball faster, jump higher, pass further and make better snap decisions. This means mastering our intake before, during and after our games and training. 



It is essential that you are well hydrated before games and training. Bring a water bottle with you to training and games and ensure you drink before, during and after your games even if you don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration can seriously affect your endurance, concentration and decision making skills, so try and get into the habit early of drinking around training.


2-3 hours before the game:

You can think of a netballer like a race car – before you start the race you want to make sure the car has a full tank of fuel so it can go at top speed for as long as possible. Carbohydrates act as our body’s “fuel”. Having a high carbohydrate meal 1-2 hours before the game allows your body time to digest your meal and top up your energy levels. The pre-game meal should consist of easily digestible carbohydrates + some protein to manage appetite. Avoid fatty foods or foods with lots of fibre as these take longer to digest and will sit in your stomach during the game, which can make you feel heavy and nauseous. 


Pre-game breakfast ideas (morning game):

·      Porridge with yoghurt and berries

·      Eggs on toast 

·      Cereal with milk and fruit

·      Bircher muesli

·      Fruit smoothie


Pre-game lunch ideas (afternoon game):

·      Chicken/tofu stir-fry with noodles/rice

·      Chicken/tuna/ham and salad sandwich or wrap

·      Pasta with tomato based sauce (avoid heavy cream based sauces) 


1-2 hours before the game (optional):

If its been a few hours since your last meal and you’re playing in the middle of the day or late afternoon it could be beneficial to have an extra small pre-game snack to make sure energy levels are at their max.


Go for light, easily digestible carbohydrates:

·      A piece of fruit 

·      Vegemite, honey or jam sandwich 

·      Muesli bar

·      Small handful of lollies 

·      Sports drink 


During the game:

It is important that you refuel and rehydrate as the game continues, especially if you are getting very little rest and having lots of movement on court. Every time you drive for the ball, jump for a rebound or launch for an intercept you’re essentially slamming your foot on the accelerator which burns fuel fast! For some players, simply hydrating between quarters will be enough. However, if you are playing a position that gets very minimal breaks (i.e. Centre) or its very hot and humid then some carbohydrates may be beneficial to increase energy levels and help you rehydrate more efficiently. 


Mid-game snacks include:

·      Sports drinks

·      Low-fibre fruit, i.e. watermelon, grapes, oranges

·      3-5 small lollies 


30 – 60 minutes after the game:

Fuelling after your game is essential to optimise your recovery by replenishing carbohydrate stores, repairing muscles and rehydrating. This post-game meal should include carbohydrates, protein and be followed by plenty of water!


Good recovery meals include:

·      Meat and salad sandwich

·      Burrito/ burrito bowls

·      Omelette and toast


If you don’t feel like a big meal, that’s ok! You can have a light snacks, such as:

·      Fruit protein smoothie 

·      Yoghurt, berries and granola

·      Flavoured milk (this is a great option if you have a low appetite)


Ultimately, everybody is different and it’s about finding what works best for you and your individual situation. If you aren’t used to eating around your games then try eating around training sessions and see how you go!


If you have more questions or would like some individual advice on how to best fuel YOUR body to take your game to the next level then you can book in for an individual consultation with an Accredited Sports Dietitian. All Pine Hills Netball Club members receive 10% off their initial consultation with myself. If you would like to book an appointment you can send me an email or book online.


Tessa Funk 

Accredited Practicing Sports Dietitian & Nutritionist


I: @tessafunk.nutrition