Feb 8, 2021
Study: Breakfast Can Lead to Improved Shooting in Basketball

It’s long been stated that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now, after reading a recent study from Kansas University, basketball coaches may be reminding their players of that old adage more and more.

The study by KU researchers showed that eating breakfast can improve a basketball player’s shooting performance — by a significant margin in some cases — according to a press release from the KU News Service.

Photo: Larry Page / Creative Commons

Originally published in the Journal of Physical Education and Sport, the study was co-authored by Andrew Fry, from Kansas, and Michael Deane and Jeremy Akers of James Madison Univeristy. It looked at the James Madison University men’s basketball team and split the the players into two groups — one that ate breakfast before their 6 AM workouts, and one that did not. They recorded the results for one week before switching. Results showed a statistically significant improvement in free throw shooting percentage and practically significant improvement in others.

“We chose shooting because you need high cognitive involvement to put the ball in the little orange bucket. You also need energy to physically push through,” Dimitrije Cabarkapa, JMU basketball player and exercise physiology doctoral candidate said in the release. “We wanted to study a possible relationship between breakfast consumption and basketball shooting influenced by anticipated improvements in mental and physical performance. A lot of research has shown the connection between breakfast and diet quality, but as far as we know, none has looked at the relation between breakfast and basketball performance.”

Results showed that while nearly all shooting categories improved when participants had breakfast, free throw percentage saw the highest difference. Others, such as three-point attempts, overall shots made and two-point shot percentage had practically significant, though not statistically significant, improvements. However, those close to the game know an additional made shot here and there can make a difference.

“Athletes are always looking to improve performance. Always looking for a competitive edge,” he said. “I always say there are three pillars of athletic performance: Strength and conditioning, nutrition and sport psychology. People often talk about taking supplements or other ergogenic aids to improve performance but often forget about basic stuff like well-balanced diet.”

In addition to the breakfast breakthrough, the study also found that lower body strength and power can be a strong predictor of professional basketball potential.

To read the full story from KU News Service, click here

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