Want to be a better player Why a cup of coffee and slice of toast can boost your performance on the pitchCaffeine and carbohydrate mix can improve endurance, skill and performanceCaffeinated drinks might be better option than sports drinks
A study has found coffee and toast can boost sporting ability
A combination of coffee and toast can boost your ability on the sports field, say scientists.
It has long been known that caffeine and carbohydrates can improve endurance but this is the first time that they have been shown to have a positive effect on skill and performance.
Researchers are now urging athletes to opt for energy drinks over sports drinks, as these often contain higher concentrations of both stimulants and can be digested quicker than solid food.
A team from Sheffield Hallam University asked eight 18-22 year old volunteers to play three simulated soccer ‘matches’ designed to test agility, dribbling, heading and kicking accuracy.
For the first match participants were given a coloured liquid with no caffeine or carbs, for the second they were given a drink containing just caffeine and for the third they were provided with liquid containing both caffeine and carbs.
Results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine: showed that the caffeine and carb mix gave the best results, improving the speed and accuracy of players.
Lead researcher Mayur Ranchordas said: “We found that the combination of carbohydrate and caffeine allowed players to sustain higher work intensity for the sprints, as well as improving shooting accuracy and dribbling during simulated soccer activity.
“What we found suggests that if caffeine and carbs improve the skill and endurance of people playing football, it may also benefit other sporting events too. “
Caffeine gives you a short-term boost, but carbs are needed to keep your ability level high for over an hour
He added that while caffeine alone can help boost performance for shorter events, the addition of carbs can help improve endurance for sporting activities lasting more than an hour.
Generally, beverages categorised as energy drinks contain a lot of caffeine while sports drinks contain little or none, they also contain a higher carbohydrate concentration.
Lucozade Sport, RockStar, Monster and Coca Cola are examples of drinks containing a mixture of caffeine and carbohydrate.
Professor Ranchordas added: “Our findings suggest that soccer players should choose a carbohydrate caffeine drink over a carbohydrate drink to consume before kick off and at half-time.
“There is already plenty of research that shows that caffeine and carbohydrate improve endurance, but this study shows that there is also a positive effect on skill and performance.”