It’s officially summertime and the heat has taken over in most places. On June 23 we celebrate National Hydration Day as a reminder for everyone to stay hydrated, especially in these warmer months. It is especially important for athletes to stay hydrated as they are continuously being active. It may be easy to lose track of time and get caught up in training and practicing and forget to hydrate, but as a coach, it is important to not let that happen. We gathered some tips on how to recognize an athlete is dehydrated, or on their way to dehydration.
If your athlete is usually energetic and one day they show up lethargic, that could potentially be a sign that they are dehydrated.
Decreased Athletic Performance
We all know that athletes have off days, but there’s a difference between an off day and a decrease in their overall athletic performance. During an off day, athletes might look as if they are giving their all yet it is just not working. With decreased athletic performance, athletes may look drained, slower than usual, weak and distracted.
Nausea and/or headache/dizziness
If an athlete tells you they are feeling nauseous or have a headache, especially on a hot day, it is important to have them rehydrate and take a breather. Nausea and headaches are one of the biggest signs of dehydration.
It is normal for an athlete to feel thirsty while training – but to a certain point. If they are asking for water every few minutes, that could be a sign that their body is dehydrated.
With all of these signs, it is important to also know how to keep you athlete hydrated. Here are some tips:
- Make sure they get plenty of fluids before practice – eight to 10 ounces of water and/or sports drinks 20 minutes before practice can vastly decrease the possibility of dehydration
- Take a water break every 15 to 20 minutes
- Drink a sports drink after practice for extra electrolytes
- If possible, keep a cold wash cloth around in case the athlete overheats to help regulate body temperature which can prevent dehydration
- Avoid too much exposure to the sun, if possible. If not, have a shaded area for the athlete to take their water breaks