With the dog days of summer and 90 degree weather just around the corner, it’s crucial to remember that no one is immune to the ill effects of bad soccer hydration. Whether you have a three year old player or fifteen year old player, summer fun can quickly evaporate with the onset of headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, and in serious cases, unconsciousness or even death. Here are some simple tips you can use to beat the heat and help keep your player cool this summer:
- Thirst is unfortunately not a sign of dehydration. In fact, most athletes who are in a dehydrated state that they do not feel thirsty.
- Know and recognize the signs of dehydration. True signs of dehydration include a decrease in energy and performance levels, dizziness, headaches, and body aches.
- Prevent dehydration before it begins by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after any workout.
- Prepare your athlete’s body for hydration overload during the off season. Drinking a lot of extra fluid when your body is not used to it, can easily make an athlete feel bloated and sluggish. Edward Wojtys, Sports Medicine M.D., recommends building up for extra hydration during the cooler months, before athletes really need them in order to get players adjusted to a heavier fluid load.
- Ensure your player consumes at least a half a cup of water for every fifteen minutes of exercise. Coaches should provide their players several water breaks every hour and immediately remove a player who exhibits signs of dehydration or any nauseous or vomiting.
- Be even more hydration conscious in very hot weather, increased humidity, during the sun’s hottest hours, or during tournaments or double headers where extended participation is required.
- Choose the best fluid. Water is an obvious and excellent choice, but if your player is participating in an event for longer than an hour, you may want to help them refuel and stay hydrated with a sports drink to provide sugar along with sodium. Sodium promotes water retention and will help maximize your player’s performance. If your player does not like water, you can also consider flavored water or diluted fruit drinks.
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