As the club season is beginning, parents and players are getting prepared for the all-day and sometimes all-weekend tournaments. For those new to club volleyball, here are a few thoughts on what you might need to make it through the day.
It’s a long day, with a different set up for each tournament. Be sure to know your tournament venue and any restrictions – for example, no outside food allowed. Some will not let you bring food in the venue…but will allow you to set up tables outdoors (this can be chilly but may be your only option). Here are some other thoughts:
- Tournament nutrition is REALLY important. Players need healthy food, not junk. Parents should make a plan for having everyone contribute food for the team (see below for some ideas). This will be a lot easier than having everyone try to prepare for their own player individually – and healthier than running out to McDonald’s for lunch.
- Find a couple of parents willing to invest in folding tables and have them bring them to every tournament. Sometimes tables are available, but not usually. These can be purchased at places like Costco or Staples for $35-45.
- Seating is unpredictable. Bring camping chairs and seat backs in case there is bleacher seating.
- Every team should have a first aid kit. One thought is to have parents each contribute $5-10 and have one parent purchase supplies or a ready-made kit.
- Players need to switch sides of the court throughout each match – having some kind of water bottle carrier will make this a lot easier. Dick’s sells some of these, but you can also create your own by using a cleaning supply container with a handle, purchased from Walmart or Target.
- If you have little ones in tow, make sure you’ve got a bag of “entertainment” as well as kid-friendly snacks on hand.
- Prepare to have a headache…at some point. As much as we enjoy watching our kids play, tournaments can wear on you. The noise alone can often create a headache – so be prepared with Ibuprofen or whatever medicine you prefer.
Ok….so now to the food. Based on my experience, players need to have one “substantial” meal during the day. If you can bring a crock pot (and extension cord) to your tournament venue, you can do things like meatballs, chili, soup or even pre-cooked chicken strips that you simply re-heat in the crock pot. We’ve also done taco meat and let our players make their own tacos. Hot dogs are another item that can be heated in a crock pot easily. If you don’t have crockpots, you can still do sandwiches and wraps, salads, etc.
Mostly, players need high-protein food without a lot of sugar. Candy, chocolate and chips will not help them keep their energy level up. Here are some of my snack ideas – click on link for attached document: Snack Ideas for Tournaments.
I hope this information helps you to have a positive, comfortable and successful tournament.