Game prep goes beyond weight room, film room for men’s hoops
ETSU freshmen Isaac Banks (middle) and Devin Harris check out the produce section during a recent trip to Food City.
ETSU freshmen Isaac Banks (middle) and Devin Harris check out the produce section during a recent trip to Food City.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 20, 2013) – For ETSU men’s basketball’s strength and conditioning coach Ben Gleason, preparing the Buccaneers for success on the court requires more than simple weight training and cardiovascular workouts.

Gleason has spent time this semester educating the Bucs on the value of good dietary habits, and in an effort to emphasize the importance of eating well, Gleason planned a trip to the nearby Food City located on West Market Street in Johnson City to give ETSU’s players tips on what types of foods to purchase.

“We want to teach them the importance of basic nutrition and specifically what types of foods help in sports such as basketball,” Gleason said. “It’s also important to give tips for eating well on a tight budget, and then also being able to prepare meals on their own.”

Gleason said he’s taking a tiered approach that involves the following:

  1. Learn basic nutrition and bioenergetics concepts relevant to basketball
  2. Learn how to properly structure a meal with regard to training and non-training days
  3. Sport nutrition strategies relevant to basketball
  4. Eating well on a budget
  5. Basic cooking skills

The trip to the Food City store fit as a fourth tier activity.

“Coach (Murry) Bartow has encouraged Brett Lewis (ETSU’s men’s basketball athletic trainer) and I to coordinate the pre-game meals and post-game meals in whatever way possible to ensure our players are getting a competitive edge and setting up optimal recovery,” Gleason said. “During the store visit, we showed players the foods that meet their in-season nutrient needs and are easy on the wallet. Ideally, our players are never skipping meals, and having food available in their rooms or apartments is the most effective way to address this critical need.

Gleason also said he’s battling social norms and the regular behavior of college students.

“Because our players are a sample of today's college students, many tend to lean toward fast food options for meals that may be convenient, but lack the proper nutrient balance to support their in-practice energy demands, etc. Education is a major part of optimal performance,” Gleason said.

For more on ETSU men’s basketball throughout the 2013-14 season, visit and click on the men’s hoops link.

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