Volleyball, unlike endurance sports, is stop and go. This is a good thing in terms of nutrition because there are ample opportunities to eat and drink during a match to keep yourself going. Regardless of how great you are at the skills of volleyball, your energy level and your ability to stay strong all match long will be the keys to a great performance.
Whether you are playing a match or an entire tournament day, you must keep your body properly nourished and hydrated to play your best. Since a volleyball match can vary widely in length depending on the number of sets required to win, you must be prepared to go the distance at all times. A three set match could end in an hour, but a five set match can last up to three hours. Make sure you are prepared for any eventuality.
The idea of sports nutrition is to anticipate your needs for the foreseeable future and to provide your body with the correct nutrients to respond to the demands you'll require of it. If you get behind in your energy stores, it will take your body a while to recover and get back on track. The game waits for no one though, so your misjudgment can cost your team the game. Make sure you understand what your body needs to perform at the highest level.
Keep in mind that everyone is different and therefore has different nutrition needs. Pay attention to your body and its response to the food you eat. Did you feel good at the start of the game and then have an energy crash? Did you eat too early and find yourself hungry when the first whistle blew? Does eating during a match give you a stomach cramp or a stitch? Adjust your intake accordingly and find what combination works best for you.
Here are some basic tips for sustaining your energy when playing volleyball: