Nutritional knowledge and status of coaches in various sporting codes
Coaches have an important responsibility in the lives of athletes since athletes often use them as a source of advice for various performance-related issues, such as the nutritional regime. This descriptive study set out to identify the nutritional knowledge and nutritional status of coaches from various sport codes, as well as their nutrition recommendations for their athletes. The study included 165 individuals from different sporting codes i.e. team, strength, explosive power and endurance sports. Coaches were given a self-administered questionnaire with 76 questions. Most coaches had poor diet choices. For instance, the number of coaches who regularly consume vegetables, fruits and fish was low and most skipped meals attributable to limited opportunities and/or not feeling hungry. 76% of the 165 coaches alleged that they had sufficient knowledge about nutrition and 82% of the coaches provided knowledge about nutrition to their athletes. There was a significant difference among coaches of different sport codes in their recommendations concerning nutritional ergogenic supplements (p<0.01). The coaches of strength sport mostly recommended proteins/amino acid supplements. Coaches predominantly gave the correct or expected answer to both general nutritional knowledge and sport nutritional knowledge questions. However, the suggestions that coaches made to their athletes about training nutrition was inadequate.
Key words: Coaches; Nutritional knowledge; Nutritional status.