Proper Hydration for Your Player
By: David Vaughan
11U-19U Director of Coaching, Skyline Soccer & ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Youth Fitness Specialist
Humans need water to survive –period. It’s one of the most important components of the body: regulating the body’s temperature, aiding in digestion, and nutrient transfer between cells. Our moods get affected negatively when we don’t drink enough water. You’ll feel tired and sluggish and even get more headaches. A gage of good hydration is when urine color is faint-yellow to clear.
For soccer players, water gets used at an even faster rate to help the body perform, yet young players are rarely hydrated properly to enable their bodies to perform at their own highest level. Consider the fact that many younger players don’t sweat to show signs that their bodies are being cooled properly, and dehydration can settled in quickly. This is a significant problem, especially during the summer months but can also take place during cooler weather.
The solution – drink water early and often!
- Pre-hydrate by encouraging your player to drink 6 to 8 ounces before heading out the door. First thing in the morning is a great way to start the day, and it actually helps jump start the body’s metabolic processes. Kids should get into the habit of drinking water the day before a scheduled athletic event.
- Bring water with them whenever they go outside to play: 9 to 12 year-olds need 3 to 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of activity. Older kids need roughly 11-16 ounces during this same amount of time. Water is sufficient during non-activity hours. Sports drinks are acceptable during practices or games to help the body replace electrolytes that are lost, but it is recommended that parents dilute them with water due to the high amount of sugars and empty calories.
- Rehydrate after your child’s soccer game is finished to help replace fluids that may be lost during the activity, especially if they tend to sweat like older youth players. Using thirst as a guide is perfect, but parents should also take a more direct approach and require them to rehydrate. After all, they may be getting ready for another practice or game in the days to come.
Developing the right habits for proper hydration in young soccer players is challenging, but we can help our kids become more in tune with their water needs as they grow older by assisting them with this important aspect of athletic performance at an early age.