Nutrition and Physical Expectations of a Wide Receiver and Corner Back
Nutrition and Physical Expectations of a Wide Receiver and Corner Back
The Wide Receiver and Corner Back are player positions in American football. The Wide Receiver (WR) plays on the offensive team, who is considered the fastest player in the field. Players at the back and end, near the sidelines are the wide receivers in the game. They occupy positions such as the Split End (SE), Slot Back (SB), Slot Receiver (SR), and the Flanker (FL). The main role of a wide receiver is to catch passes from a quarterback from the defensive team. Once they catch the ball, they attempt to outrun, avoid defenders such as the cornerback and safeties from the defensive team. When in possession of the ball, the goal of the wide receiver is to run downfield and touchdown. In the National Football League, they use the numbers 10-19 and 80-89.
The corner back position is a position in the defensive team called the secondary of the defensive backfield. Similar to wide receivers, they are considered one of the fastest players in the field. Their main role in the game is to defend against a pass from the offense. He does this by disrupting the pass route of the receivers from the offense team. They make tackles to prevent the receivers from touching down. They do this by keeping their bodies squared, feet shoulder width apart, and this jams the receiver. This position requires high speed and agility. They are also required to have strong body frames and body strength to withstand tackling receivers and during jamming. The wide receiver and cornerback positions require the players to be strong, fats, agile and tactful. Physical training only is not enough to achieve the fitness required in the field. Nutrition and diet play a key role in ensuring the players are in good shape and cut out the positions during the game. This paper will take a deeper look into the nutritional and physical expectations of the wide receivers and cornerbacks in American Football.
Nutritional expectations for Wide Receivers and Corner Backs
Sport nutritionists recommend pre and post game diets for receivers and corner backs. This is because a player must follow the three Rs of recovery in sports. They include, replenishing, repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue. This can only be achieved through proper nutrition. Proper nutrition enables the players to be durable in the field, and maintaining high speed without tiring out. Lisa Dorfman, a sports nutritionist and author of “Performance Nutrition for Football” recommends wide recovers to have a high intake of carbohydrates; couple with high quality protein within a period of half an hour to an hour of finishing a game or workout and training session.
The author offers her advice on nutritional goals for football players. As a nutritionist, she recommends Rockin’ Refuel™, which is protein-fortified milk with 2:1 carbohydrates to protein ratio. The milk is recommended and ideal for muscle recovery especially after a workout session. For wide receivers, the milk is rich in at least 9 essential nutrients and 20g of protein. This helps in maintaining and improving the flexibility of the player. The milk also helps in decreasing chances of injury, because of the muscle repair element of proteins. The milk contains a high volume of carbohydrates, which are approximately 48g per 12 oz serving. This is essential as it provides the player with quick and long lasting energy during and after the game. The wide receiver is also recommended to take fats high in omega 3 to control inflammation in case of an injury (Dorfman 44).
Cornerbacks require flexibility, speed and agility, body strength and mass for tackling and blocking the receivers. Therefore, their diets should be rich in protein for body mass gain, carbohydrates for body strength and, quick energy bursts and mental focus during the game. Cornerbacks need to be hydrated during and after a game after sweating. The Rockin’ Refuel™ milk contains sodium, potassium and magnesium, which is essential as it prevents the player from experiencing muscle cramps and recover from dehydration. The sugars consumed during the game also provide the player with electrolytes, which ensure limited chances of experiencing muscle cramps. The high protein intake pre and post game ensures the cornerback maintains stability and power of the core.
Most wide receivers are ectomorphs, they have lean body structures and may sometimes have trouble gaining body weight which is essential for the player positions. Therefore, nutritionists often recommend wide receivers to have a diet plan that includes 6 to 8 meals a day and should include plenty of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. By having a number of meals in a day, the blood sugar and energy levels stay elevated. High levels of proteins ensure the body has a positive nitrogen balance. They should have a higher calorie intake as compared to other players. The ideal body fat for a wide receiver should range between 3-8%.
The wide receiver should stay hydrated. To ensure maximum hydration, he should start their day by drinking at least 8 to 16 ounces of water daily, take water or a sports drink two hours before practice and training, and after training, take at least two cups of water. The player should also avoid taking food and drinks that dehydrate the body, for example, alcohol, caffeine, highly salty foods such as French-fries, salty nuts and soy sauce.
A wide receiver should ensure that his body weight is a bit higher than other players are. Sports nutritionists recommend the following diet plan for the players, in order to gain lean body weight:
- The player must consume at least 3,500 calories per day
- Eat breads and cereals, at least 10 servings
- Protein such as milk and white meat at least four to six three-ounce portions
For a corner, the diet should consist mainly of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and water, just like a wide receiver. Proteins are important especially for tissue repair and building muscle mass. The amino acids are the most important elements in the proteins that the body requires. The body requires all the amino acids in the proteins consumed. For a corner back, the player should eat about 1.5 to 2.0 grams of proteins per kilogram of their bodyweight. It is recommended that at least two thirds of these proteins should be from lean meats and fish. Fish is believed to ventilate the brain, which is important in developing mental focus, an essential trait for the corner back position. Most of the rest of the proteins should be vegetable protein as from beans, legumes, and gelatin. The player’s calorie intake should have at least 20% of proteins. This is important because during training, the body breaks down tissue and the protein is essential for repair. The carbohydrates supply energy to the body, which is in turn used to either burn fat or build muscle. The player should ensure they consume about 5 to 6g per kilogram in a day. For instance, if a cornerback player weighs about 85 kilograms, he should consume at least 400 to 500 grams of starch per day. In these portions, there should be at least about 38 grams of fiber. Fat intake is also vital in a corner back’s diet as it contains high levels of calories, 9 calories per gram. It is important in hormone regulation and development of the brain and nervous system. As mentioned earlier, a corner back needs to have mental focus during the game. Therefore, fats promote the development of the brain which in turn develops helps the player develop mental focus. Sports nutritionists cannot stress enough the importance of water for athletes. The body requires waters, and loses it during a game. It is very important for a corner back to hydrate before and after a game since they lose body water during sweating.
In between meals, both players should take snacks rich in proteins, for instance, ready to drink protein drinks, dried nuts, fruits, and protein bars. The players should avoid snacks high in sugar, as this increases their body fat and adversely affects their agility and mobility during a game. Sports nutritionists claim that eating post game meals is crucial for the players. It is recommended that after a game, the players should immediately re-hydrate with a sports drink, and consume carbohydrates to replenish the depleted glycogen levels in their bodies. This would ordinarily include foods such as baked potatoes, green beans, fruits, fish, yoghurt, rice and grilled chicken. When the players follow these meal plans, their performance in the field remains at maximum levels and their health stays in check.
Physical Expectations for the Corner Back and Wide Receiver
For optimum performance in the field, all athletes are required to stay physically fit and engage in rigorous training. The wide receiver and the corner back are no exception to this. For each player position, there are various physical and sometimes anatomical expectations for the players. According to the NFL requirements, a corner back should have a minimum height of 5’10”, weigh 185 lbs, and have an arm length of 30” and a hand span of 9”. To build muscle mass and body, the corner back should use moderately heavy weights, which often cause small tears in the muscle. The body responds by healing and adding more muscle as a way of preparation for future muscle tear. With time, the body gains more muscle and hence increase body mass, which is essential during tackling offenders (Dunford 175).
A corner back needs to have body strength and should engage in intense training and achieve maximum body strength. To ensure effective strength training, the player must train the entire body. He should do some of the following exercises:
- Back squats, lunges, and one legged presses for the quads
- Stiff legged dead lifts and lying one legged curls for the hamstrings
- Use abdominal wheels, heidi circuits, and torso twists for the core
- Arm circuits to tone and build arm strength
- Seated rows for the upper back strength
- Inclined bench press and barbell bench press for the chest and general upper body
For agility, the corner back should do speed drills and training by practicing the 20-yard speed burst, run on sand hills to increase coverage ability and build strength endurance. Speed and agility are important for the corner back, therefore the training should be taken seriously and intensely. It is also important for the cornerback to be flexible in the field, hence, should also train for flexibility, which complements agility. Additionally, the player should be able to study the offenders, the receivers in particular. This can be done through a film study of previous games and observe how the receivers move around the field, how fast they are, who is the easier target and more importantly how physical they are. Mental focus coupled with physical training enables the corner back to achieve better results and tackles in the field as a defender.
The wide receiver should be at least 5’11”, weigh at least 185 lbs, have a hand span, and an arm length of at least 31”. The wide receiver should do a couple of drills that will assist his movement in the field. For instance, he should do the side-to-side drill, which is good for body control. The tap dance is useful in helping the player catch the ball without dropping it. The wide receiver should do weightlifting and muscle building to increase body mass and strength. This is important in dealing with tackle from the corner back and other back liners from the defensive team. A wide receiver should have full body strength in order to avoid injury in the field and be highly athletic during games. Full body strength enables the receiver to avoid and minimize the blows of the tackles, jump higher, and prevent breakage of bones in case of dangerous landing on the ground. Upper body strength is the greatest source of body strength. Therefore, the receiver should conduct the following exercises for upper body strength:
- Bench press, incline bench press, dumb bell incline press, and dumb bell bench press
- Shoulder circuits, bent-over rows, cable rows, inverted rows and reverse grip lat pull downs
- Curl bar curl, reverse curls, hammer curls, and tricep pushdowns
- Dumb bell kickbacks and the one arm DB row.
Other exercises include speed and agility drills, similar to the corner back drills, and core exercises for strength building. Training and drills for wide receivers is similar to the corner backs in many ways. The goal of training is to build endurance, strength and agility in the field. What matters in the field mostly is wit and the physical attributes of a player.
Nutrition and work out are the most important aspects of a football player. Therefore, it should be adequately taken care of by the player. Proper nutrition prevents the player from experiencing various difficulties and complication while in the field. It also keeps their immunity in check and therefore can engage in the sport for a longer time. A footballer who does not train intensely and adequately will fail to deliver in the field. It is very important for the wide recover and corner back to train properly. Nutrition and physical exercise and training go hand in hand in achieving success for a sportsman. Therefore, the players should not ignore either, but ensure they observe the recommended nutrition and proper physical exercise.
Dorfman, Lisa. Performance Nutrition For Football. Ithaca, NY: MomentumMedia, 2010. Print.
Dunford, Marie. Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals. Chicago, Ill: American Dietetic Association, 2006. Print.
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