During hot weather, hydration (drinking water or a sports drink) is VERY important and can make a big difference in the second half of a soccer game. I think it can be worth a goal or two. Hydration is also a VERY important health issue for soccer players - dehydration (the lack of adequate water in the body) is a serious matter and can cause illness or stroke. Every soccer coach and parent needs to be concerned about proper hydration and how to avoid dehydration. Hydration is a subject on which there is a great deal of misunderstanding, misinformation and disagreement, yet it's very important. It's both a health issue and a performance issue. No soccer coach wants to allow a player to become ill due to the coach's unintentional neglect or ignorance, but that is what could easily happen if dehydration occurs. Energy replacement isn't a health issue, but it is a performance issue. Soccer coaches who understand hydration and the need for energy replacement, and who take some simple steps, will give their team an advantage over teams that don't, assuming they are fairly evenly matched (phrased differently, if the opposing coach is proactive about hydration and energy replacement and you aren't, then your team is at a disadvantage). You can't control a lot of things, but this is one thing you can control that can make a difference between winning and losing, and it's something you should do for health and safety reasons and for the good of your players. The next newsletter will be from the Premium article Hydration and Energy Replacement which includes a comparison of water vs. sports drinks and makes recommendations. Tip No. 1: Buy water in plastic sports bottles and keep them in a cooler and encourage the players to drink before the game starts and at half time. Tell players to squirt the water into their mouth and to NOT put the top in their mouth. Tip No. 2: Recruit a parent to be in charge of water and to stand at the Half line... encourage players to come over and have the parent squirt a drink in their mouth so they don't leave the field (Players can be penalized if they leave the field during the game without the referee's permission. I'm not sure if squirting water into their mouths is technically allowed, but we never had a Ref tell us to stop doing it). Tip No. 3: Let the Goalie take a squirt water bottle into the goal and leave it in the back of the goal...that is allowed. Tip No. 4: A study by the University of North Carolina found that it takes 20 minutes for 8 ounces of water to hydrate the body. The point was that you need to drink it before you really need it. In the study they tested triathletes. Those who drank 24 ounces of water at least 20 minutes before the run averaged 1 minute 19 seconds faster in the run than those who drank the water right before the run. (Water drank right before the run didn't have enough time to be absorbed for optimal benefit). Tip No. 5: Buy a garden sprayer at Home Depot or Lowe's (use a new one, NOT a used one), wash it out good and run water thru it, and taste the water yourself to be sure it's clean. Put cool water in it and spray your player�s arms at half time and when they are subbed. I did this and it really seemed to help cool them down. Recruit a parent to do this. Tip No. 6: One more VERY important warning: Do NOT put a long-sleeved Goalie jersey on a player when it is really hot...they will overheat. The rules don't require a special Goalie jersey, only a different colored shirt, so you can use a T-shirt or put a mesh training vest over the normal shirt. There are more Tips for Hot Weather on Premium.
Important Tips for Playing Soccer in Hot Weather
Hydration and Avoiding Dehydration in Soccer Players
How to Keep Soccer Players Cool on Hot Days
Soccer Coaches and Parents Should be Proactive
6 Soccer Tips that are Worth a Goal or Two on a Hot Day Only 15 Days Until August 1