Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 413 - 420   DOI:

Research article
Dietary Intake and Daily Distribution of Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat in Youth Tennis Players over a 7-Day Training and Competition Period
James A. Fleming1,2, , Ciarán Ó Catháin3, Liam D. Harper1, Robert J. Naughton1
Author Information
1 School of Human and Health Sciences, The University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, England
2 Faculty of Sport, Allied Health and Performance Science, St Mary’s University, London, England
3 Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Athlone Institute of Technology, Athlone, Ireland

James A. Fleming
✉ Programme Director MSc Applied Sports Nutrition/BSc Sport & Exercise Nutrition, St Mary’s University London
Publish Date
Received: 05-12-2020
Accepted: 06-05-2021
Published (online): 17-05-2021
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During a 7-day training and/or competition period, macronutrient intake and distribution was assessed using food diaries, supported by remote food photography and 24-hr multiple pass recalls of youth tennis players categorised by under 12s, under 14s and under 16+ age groups (n = 27). Total energy did not differ between age groups nor type of day (training [TD], competition day [CD]), irrespective of a significant increase in body mass reported in the older players (U16+; p < 0.05). Average intakes were consistently below 2250 kcal·day-1 (range 1965 ± 317–2232 ± 612 kcal·day-1). Carbohydrate consumption was below guidelines for all groups (≤6g·kg-1). Conversely, protein intake met or exceeded guidelines throughout, with intakes ≥2 g·kg-1 for both the U12 and U14 age groups on both days. Protein intake was ~17% higher on TDs than CDs (p < 0.05), with protein intake at lunch significantly higher on TDs than CDs (p < 0.05). No further differences were observed between breakfast, lunch or dinner between group or day. Inconsistent snacking was reported, with players consuming snacks on less than half of the days reported (46 ± 12% of TDs and 43 ± 30% of CDs). In conclusion, youth tennis players present sub-optimal nutrition practices, appearing to under fuel and under consume carbohydrate for performance, adaptation, recovery and health.

Key words: Tennis, nutrition, energy, carbohydrate, protein

           Key Points
  • Competitive youth tennis players seem to under fuel and under consume carbohydrates for training and competition.
  • Sub-optimal nutritional choices are evident, with no indication of nutrition planning to optimise performance, adaptation, recovery and health.
  • Nutritional support is deemed necessary for this sporting population.
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