Not all player development is done on the football field.
Likewise, players don’t grow into the athletes they are purely by spending time in the gym or out on the oval.
Diet and the ability to cook plays an enormous role in allowing players to be self-sufficient and able to perform at their best.
With this in mind, nib Newcastle Knights Club Dietitian, Rachel Svenson, gave 16 players from the development and Jersey Flegg squads the opportunity to learn some valuable lessons on how to prepare easy and nutritious meals in the kitchen.
“We have our youth squad players and under 20’s players doing some cooking with a professional chef, to help them in the kitchen when they’re preparing the food themselves,” Svenson said.
“These guys have huge training demands, then huge demands for work and study.
“Food preparation becomes really important because they’re always trying to meet their physical goals as well.”
With NRL players such as Bradman Best, Phoenix Crossland and Pasami Saulo in attendance with plenty of other future talents, Svenson stressed the importance of diet in relation to performances on the field.
“Being able to cook good food will help them be more efficient with their food and eating,” she said.
“Then that helps them on the field with some of their physical performance as well.”
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With a professional chef from Wests Lambton running the class, the boys learned the intricacies of a variety of dishes.
“It’s great, we’re doing a baked fish with vegetables stacked on top and roasting some sweet potato and broccoli on the side,” she said.
“Now we’re just cooking some chicken and pork mince meatballs, and they’re just creating a whole style of their own with flavours for that.”
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With the importance of a healthy diet to sustained physical success, Svenson urged all young footballs to seriously consider what they’re putting in their bodies.
“We know diet is crucial, we just need more young players to be spending more time in the kitchen, so they can become self-sufficient and start learning basic skills to feed themselves.”