Athlete dehydration prevention is a serious matter for coaches and players of all sports and all levels.
With temperatures reaching 100+ degrees in the hot summer months, the temperature on the field can be even hotter. Athlete dehydration prevention is as important as ever.
How can you keep your team safe and hydrated while maintaining a competitive level? The following tips and advice use football hydration as an example because of the increased cases of, heat stroke and even death due to sports dehydration, but the principles described can apply to any sport and any athlete.
DRINK, DRINK, DRINK!
Guidelines regarding the consumption of sports drinks:
Here’s some great advice from ProFootballWorkout.com about how to keep your players safe on and off the playing field.
- 1-2 hours before football workouts: 450-600 ml
- Every 15 minutes during football workouts: 200-300 ml
- After football workouts: 720 ml and above
The general rule is to drink even before you feel thirsty and to have a schedule for it.
Sports drinks are great but if you cannot always afford it there’s no substitute for water. Coaches should always have athlete hydration supplies available.
If dealing with ice, cups and coolers is a concern there are team drinkers that allow coaches to hydrate several players at a time without cups and messy cleanup.
Keep it Cool
Another way coaches are keeping their teams hydrated is by reducing the heat on the field and thus the amount of water their players’ lose through sweat. This can be achieved by using various sports cooling products, here are a few ideas for athletes to keep cool.
- Wrap a wet towel around your neck during timeouts on the sidelines and bench.
This tried and true method has been used since sports have been around. The cold wet towel around your neck cools the blood as it passes through your veins, helping to lower your entire body temperature.
- Use sports cooling vest before and after event.
In advance of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Nike developed the Nike Precool Vest for Olympic athletes. Intended to be worn for an hour prior to events in the hot and humid conditions in Beijing, Nike reported an expected increase of 21% in an athletes endurance.
- Employ sports cooling fans on your sidelines and near the playing field.
Sports cooling fans have been around for years, but the technology has improved. Many years ago sports cooling fans were big, loud clunky wind tunnels that merely blew more hot air on the sidelines. If you were lucky, a water hose was attached or hung in front of the wind hung in front of the machine to provide some cooling relief.
Times have changed, coaches now use state of the art Sport Cool cooling fans which can lower the temperature in front of fan 10 to 30 degrees up to 30′ feet away. Suddenly a 100+ degree day at practice can feel like a cool, comfortable 75 degrees. Sports cooling fans only require water and an electrical outlet. The fans are now equipped with a dolly-like frame for easy transportation and portable cooling.
Watch a video on Sports Cool Fogger Outdoor Cooling System
Don’t schedule practice during the hottest part of the day. Hold early morning practices when the scorching heat has not had time to set in. For football coaches, have only half pads and shorts practices during the day.
Scheduling practice “anytime after noon” is also not always a good idea in the summer. Noon is kind of a misconception. Typically the hottest hour of the day is 3pm. This is due to water vapor charging up with heat and finally radiating with the sunlight. Noon is merely when the sun is the most directly over head. (Source Answers.com)
Coaches also use Heat & Humidity Stopwatches, and Heat Index Warning Systems which are portable stopwatch devices that can be worn around the neck and will send an alert when heat levels reach dangerous levels.
When it comes to athlete dehydration prevention, the safety of your team should always be at the top of the list. By using some of the methods described in this article along with some common sense and prevent athlete hydration.