Creating a Positive Performance Culture
Language and commentary around nutrition, body composition and movement can influence the actions of athletes, impacting on their health and performance. It is important that we create a safer and supportive environment for an athlete, squad or team.
How can you be an awesome role model?
A good start is to encourage and promote the role of nutrition in performance.
Some suggestions include:
- Recognising the role of food and eating in enjoyment and pleasure, in addition to its role in performance
- If body composition is being discussed, ensure goals are related to performance benefits, as opposed to looking “more fit” or for aesthetic reasons
- Don’t engage in making comments about any athlete’s weight, shape, body composition or dietary intake (no matter how subtle it seems)
- Always maintain focus on improving additional performance success factors that are unrelated to weight/size
Tips for coaches and/or parents
Be aware and never assume your athlete is okay in this space – listen, talk and open this conversation up with your athletes and entire support team! Create a culture that is safer, supportive and promotes positive relationships with individual bodies and performance nutrition.
Thoughts and actions to remove:
- Recommending specific diets, cutting out foods/food groups, skipping meals, calorie tracking or promoting rigid food rules
- Judgemental language around foods/drinks or activity e.g. sluggish, heavy, bad, naughty, wrong/right, guilty pleasure etc.
- The urge to comment on an athlete’s or other support/team member’s food choices or body
If you think an athlete around you might have a negative relationship with food or their body, seek support from an Accredited Sports Dietitian and ask them ‘how can I best support you?’. Build a supportive team around them. This can include health professionals such as a Psychologist and Exercise Physiologist.
Book an appointment with our wonderful Sports Dietitian, Georgie Tran here.