BASKETBALL is a high energy game that involves immense athletic skill.
It is a sport that requires arguably the highest concentration of both athleticism and hand-eye coordination and understanding the game from physical, mental and nutritional perspectives is essential to success.
That was the takeaway from a very informative session that took place recently at the Lions Youth Centre in Carrigaline, when Dr Wesley O’Brien of UCC and Sharon O’Dwyer of YourPracticalNutrition spoke to a combined group of boys and girls from Carrigaline Basketball club (U15 to U18 age groups).
Important messages were given to the young athletes as players start to think about their preparations for next season.
Wesley explained the importance of taking a 360o view of your physical well-being and game readiness – Strength & conditioning, warm up, cool down, recovery as well as being tuned into your and others mental well-being were all covered.
He also brought his key messages to life by directly referencing practical real-life examples from Basketball, GAA and other sports.
Sharon spoke about the need to look at nutrition as being a vital part of an athlete's tool kit - it's not optional, if athletes want to be GREAT - it's key, as well as training.
Sharon provided an overview of:
The Athletes plate - what a balanced diet means for athletes.
Nutrients of concern and how to ensure they're not deficient.
Getting the timing (of when and what to eat) right on game day.
Various sample meal plans (including vegan).
The importance of adequate fuelling and the risks of RED-S (not getting enough energy from food, leading to risks of hormone disruption (incl menstrual dysfunction for girls), poor bone health, cognitive impairment, poorer performance, low mood etc).
The Carrigaline Basketball Club would like to sincerely thank Wesley and Sharon for sharing their wealth of knowledge so generously.
A big thank you was conveyed to Carrigaline Lions club and especially Kieran McNamee for hosting the session in Carrigaline Lions Youth Centre.
Dr. Wesley O’Brien, is a Lecturer in Physical Education and Coaching Science, working on the B.Ed Sports Studies and Physical Education Programme, in the School of Education, at University College Cork (UCC).
Mr O’Brien is actively involved in UCC GAA club, and was the conditioning and skills coach for the Fresher hurling team, and the senior hurling/camogie teams between 2014 and 2022.
In 2021, Wesley coached the Cork minor hurling team to win the All-Ireland Championship.
In 2019, Wesley coached the UCC senior hurling team to win the Fitzgibbon Cup All-Ireland Championship.
Wesley has also previously coached the Cork Senior Camogie team for two years (2015 and 2016), whom won the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship in 2015.
Sharon O’Dwyer is a nutritional therapist with YourPracticalNutrition based in Carrigaline.
Sharon helps clients address a broad range of health issues through targeted diet and lifestyle interventions.
More recently she has focused on helping athletes, especially young athletes to improve their performance and to address health issues associated with inadequate fuelling.
Sharon works 1:1 with clients and she also delivers talks and workshops to local clubs as her focus in this area arose from her experience in clinic.
She recently completed additional training in sports nutrition to apply the latest sports nutrition research in supporting athletes at all levels.