Performance Hydration

Performance Hydration

We all know we are supposed to stay hydrated, but how and why? It can be especially difficult during tournament weekends with numerous games from morning until night.

Why stay hydrated?

Dehydration with water weight loss between 2-4% of body weight is associated with measurable drops in a young athlete’s performance. This is as little as 1/2 or 1 liter of sweat.  A young kid sweats this much in less than 2 hours, older kids in less than 1 hour.  With so many young players vying for college recognition or more playing time on the travel team, it would be a shame to have dehydration be the main thing slowing you down.

boy drinking water

How to stay hydrated

Staying hydrated can be an easy task with the help of a few tools. Sometimes athletes need more, and a doctor can help determine that for you.  However, these are good starting points.

Preteens:

  1. One clear 24oz water bottle
  2. Mark the bottle every cup (8oz)
  3. During the normal day, drink up to the 1st mark by mid-morning, the 2nd mark at lunch, and the remainder in the afternoon.
  4. During practice and games you refill the bottle every hour.  The tick marks represent the amount they should be getting in at least every 20 minutes in practice.  
  5. Each time you finish a bottle you eat one small salty snack like a pretzel snack pack for carbs and electrolytes.

Teens:

  1. One clear 32 oz water bottle.
  2. Mark the bottle every 1.5 cup (10-12oz)
  3. During the normal day, drink up to the 1st mark by mid-morning, the 2nd mark at lunch, and the remainder in the afternoon.
  4. During practice and games you refill the bottle every hour.  The tick marks represent the amount they should be getting in at least every 20 minutes in practice.
  5. Each time you finish a bottle you eat one small salty snack like a pretzel snack pack for carbs and electrolytes

If you are going to a tournament in the middle of nowhere, then bring jugs of water to refill your water bottle.

Gatorade, Good or Bad?

Sports drinks, whether store-bought or homemade, can be powerful sources of hydration and energy.  However, too much sports drink can slow you down with stomach cramping.  Drinking sports drinks throughout a day can also reduce the energy boost from the simple sugars as your body becomes less sensitive to the insulin spikes.  Our recommendation is no more than 12 ounces of Gatorade, or any sports drink, per hour of actual sports practice to avoid cramping and sluggishness. Only use them during sports for the maximum effect.  Using sports drinks as an everyday drink option can overload athletes with empty calories without improving performance.

COMMENTS (1)
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I believe it is very important to keep oneself hydrated for the sake of your health and your performance. Great article, keep it up!

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