Hydration is the most important training issue any player will face
on a daily basis, it's so important that the sports drinks industry have
invested millions of dollars researching for the best proper hydration.
What should soccer players drink and when should they consume these
liquids, what role does good old water play in this equation.
Let's talk about what a soccer player should not consume , Pop / Soda
is not good for hydration due to the carbonation effect , it can cause
stomach upset, the sugar content is very high and if the Pop / Soda has a
caffeine content it will restrict the bodies attempt to absorb water .
Fruit juices are not a great choice (old school) for the same
reasons, usually the sugar content is very high inundated with acids
that may once again upset the stomach.
Milk is an old school choice, but not my choice.
We should understand what a dehydrated soccer players performance may
look like, the body is made up of approximately 70% of water and as we
work / exercise we will lose some of that water through sweat, e.g.,
during a soccer game depending on the amount of work / exercising done a
player can lose approximately 1.5 % of body weight, that's why it's not
advantageous to play summer tournaments in very hot days and ask young
players to play two, sometimes three games in one day.
Very important medical studies have shown that a reduction in body
weight can result in a 10% loss in muscle capacity, it impacts their
mental alertness and invariably results in poor decision making, long
and short of this comment is that our players can get injured. This is a
warning to coaches who demand their teams play to many games in very
hot days and it is very critical that all players are properly hydrated
before, during and after games / practices. Remember, replacing the
sweat you have lost should be done immediately if you expect to
Good old water is an extremely effective way to preventing
dehydration, if you are properly hydrated by your water intake you will
be far sharper than the soccer player who is not hydrated. Get into the
habit of drinking water before, during and following your practices and
games and always do personal hydration checks "Simply inspect the colour
of your urine” it should be a pale yellow colour. If your urine is any
darker in colour that will be an indication as to how dehydrated you
All coaches should demand that their players drink as much as they
can, if you drink as much as you can a full day before competition it
will allow the body tissues to absorb as much fluid as possible.
Drinking water four / six hours before competition will not be
sufficient, the body needs at least 24 hours to be effective.
Drinking those fancy sports drinks with the enticing labels and
beautiful TV advertisements can do more good than water, due to the fact
that they taste real good, so the consumption is greater, they may even
have carbohydrates, not found in regular water, carbohydrates will slow
down the onset of muscle fatigue, this is done by sparing the muscle
glycogen by increasing the body's blood glucose levels, so these fancy
labeled sports drinks can really do a job and they can speed up the
natural glycogen reserved for energy.
Cold drinks are absorbed into the system faster than warm drinks, so keep that old ice bucket handy on the side lines.
Fluids / Fluids / Fluids, coaches must stress the importance as well
as stressing the importance of a balanced diet for soccer players.
Soccer Players Fluid Intake
- Body water daily intake, 2 liters per day
- Practices & Games, water intake will increase dramatically
- Remember fluid loss will effect performance by 20% to 30%
- 2 days before competition maximum water intake
- 15 minutes before practices or games 300 mi
- Replacing your sweat loss / replenishing should be a habit
Heat and Humidity as Risk Factors
The challenges of exercising in the heat
- During exercise, the muscles produce heat. This treatment must
be dissipated, otherwise the body runs the risk of "overheating."
Overheating can result in serious, potentially life threatening
- Sweating is one of the heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body. When sweat evaporates, it cools off the body.
- Most sport activities lead to heat production and sweating,
Evaporation of sweat works best when the air is dry. In moist, damp air,
sweat cannot evaporate easily and cooling off is more difficult.
- If the air temperature is high during vigorous activity, participants can lose a significant amount of water through sweating.
- High temperatures and high relative humidity make it hard for
the body to dissipate heat; heavy sweating occurs, but the water lost
does not help to cool off the body. Under these conditions, participants
run the risk of overheating.
- Water lost as a result of heavy sweating can lead to
dehydration. Dehydration can reduce performance, decrease the body's
ability to dissipate heat, and endanger health.
- During exercise in the heat, adequate hydration is a must.
Participants must drink water/fluids whenever the risk of dehydration is
- Thirst is not a good indicator of a need for water. In fact, dehydration has already started if a participant feels thirsty.
- During most exercise conditions, the rate at which participants
lose water exceeds the rate at which they can absorb it by drinking.
This is accentuated during exercise in a hot environment. Therefore,
participants need to drink fluids before they are thirsty.
- Children run a higher risk of overheating when exercising in the
heat, because their sweating mechanism is not fully developed. In
addition, children tend to not drink enough during exercise, in
particular, if the beverage is not flavored.