It takes more than having water coolers around to keep your athletes safe and performing at optimal levels. Here are some tips to educate your athletes on maintaining proper hydration, especially as we enter the warmer summer months.
- Have weigh-ins before and after exercise if possible. This will help an athlete know how much fluid intake is necessary for them and if they are falling behind or drinking too much.
- Educate athletes on urine color. (Lighter is better hydrated)
- Modify practice in hot, humid conditions. Adjust practice time, amount or intensity. Allow frequent hydration breaks and consider equipment modification.
- Encourage athletes to drink fluids before, during and after exercise. Water is encouraged unless the exercise is greater than 60 minutes. You may consider sports drinks if activity is greater than 60 minutes.
- Keeping fluids cold will encourage more hydration by the athletes.
- For optimum performance, athletes should continue drinking BEFORE becoming thirsty.
Source: Lopez, R., Casa D. Hydration for Athletes: What coaches can do to keep their athletes healthy and performing their best, 2006.