The role of soccer referees has grown in importance in the last decades, as has attention to their performance, which may be influenced and improved with specific and evolved training programs. Today, multiple specialists are working as a team in order to develop effective training programs. Moreover, for athletes, it is becoming more and more important to be attentive to nutrition. By considering such items, in this study, we aimed to investigate the nutritional habits of a group of referees belonging to the Italian Soccer Referees' Association (on behalf of AIA-FIGC). Our main aim was to spread a "culture of nutrition" in refereeing, starting with a survey on referees' breakfast attitudes and in order to disseminate such a "culture", we chose top-level elite referees who were younger subjects (despite the average 4 years' experience). Therefore, we enrolled 31 subjects (aged 22.74 ± 1.79, BMI 22.30 ± 1.53) and asked them about their breakfast habits. Then, for measuring their performance, we used the conventional fitness test named Yo-Yo (YYiR1), performed in three different sessions (test 1, test 2, test 3). Test 1 was carried out without any nutritional indications, test 2 was given after individualized breakfast suggestions by a designed dietician, and test 3 after an individualized glycogen super-compensation strategy. The Wilcoxon statistical analysis indicates that following an individualized breakfast strategy may enhance referees' performance (p < 0.0001), whereas no significant effects were observed with the glycogen super-compensation option. However, further studies will be necessary to better address this topic and clarify whether high-carbohydrates (high-CHO) intake may be useful in other sports.
- Athletic Performance/physiology
- Cohort Studies
- Middle Aged
- Nutritional Status