Perspectives of the barriers and enablers to nutritional adherence in professional male academy football players

Jennie L. Carter, David J. Lee, Mayur K. Ranchordas, Matthew Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Nutritional intake is important for young football players; however, little is known about the factors that influence their nutritional adherence.

The aim of this study was to investigate players’, sports nutritionists’,and coaches’ perspectives of the barriers and enablers to adhering to nutritional recommendations within a professional football club.

Individual interviews, based on the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation – Behaviour (COM-B) model and Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), were conducted with 13 players (18 ± 1.3 years), 12 sports nutritionists, and 10 coaches from 2, 12, and 10 professional football clubs, respectively. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the data.

Seven key themes were generated relating to the players’ barriers and enablers to nutritional adherence: (1) Capability: (a) Nutritional Knowledge; (b) Cooking Skills; (2) Opportunity: (c) Training Venue Food Provision; (d) Nutritionist Accessibility and Approachability; (e) Living Status: (3) Motivation: (f) Performance Implications; and (g) Role Modelling.

Inadequate food provision within the training and home environment, and limited time with the sports nutritionist were key barriers to nutritional adherence in youth football players. Football clubs should allocate more time for sports nutritionists to deliver nutrition support and sports nutritionists should aim to control the players environment to support optimal nutritional intake.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience and Medicine in Football
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


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