Important Tips for Soccer Coaches on Hot Days
14 Soccer Tips that are Worth a Goal or Two on a Hot Day
Hydration and Avoiding Dehydration is Important
How to Keep Players Fresher
Be Proactive About This
Soccer Coaching DVDs I Recommend

Note From David. This Newsletter is about how to keep your players fresher when it is very hot and how to avoid dehydration. It is important to be sure your players have plenty of water or Gatorade before and during a game. That is smart coaching because it can be worth a goal or 2 on a hot day and it is also important for your player's health. Research now says it takes at least 20 minutes for water to hydrate the body, so they need to start drinking water before they "need it". I highly recommend you take additional water to a game and practice in case your players don't bring enough. Don't just rely on the players. There are 14 tips below. I hope everything is great for you and your family and that you have lots of fun this season.

(Following is part of an article from SoccerHelp Premium):

Disclaimer: Information in this article is based on my research but is not guaranteed to be accurate, is subject to change and should be verified.

Hydration is a VERY important health issue for soccer players. It is both a health issue and a performance issue. 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. Energy replacement isn't a health issue, but it is a performance issue that can affect how soccer players perform in hot weather.

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. 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 the teams 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 Premium article Hydration and Energy Replacement includes a comparison of water vs. sports drinks and makes more recommendations.

Tip No. 1: 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.

Tip No. 2: Water is good, but a sports drink might be better. The reason is that a sports drink that has a little sodium, potassium and other elements is absorbed faster by the intestine than pure water. This puts more water in the blood faster. Buy sports drinks that are designed to replenish fluids. I would avoid those that have high-fructose corn syrup because that is absorbed faster than sugar or dextrose. I recommend diluted sports drink such as Gatorade from powder that contains sucrose and not high-fructose corn syrup. Carbonated sodas are not as good as water or most sports drinks.

Tip No. 3: Drinking from an open bottle is better than through a straw because the player will drink more.

Tip No. 4: Why not just rely on the kids or parents to bring water? Does that work? It never worked for me. I think this is too important an issue to rely on kids to bring their water, and what do you do if they forget? Not let them play? Tell them tough luck? Just watch them get dehydrated? In addition, soccer is a team sport, so if one kid isn't playing well it will affect the entire team. As coaches we spend many hours practicing things that might never pay off. Being pro-active about hydration and energy replacement will have a definite benefit and is time well spent. I highly recommend you take additional water to a game and practice in case your players don't bring enough.

Tip No. 5: 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. 6: Recruit a parent to be in charge of water and to stand at the Halfway 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. 7: 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. 8: Players need to start drinking water before they "need it". 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. 9: Buy a garden sprayer, 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. Use a new sprayer, not a used one

Tip No. 10: 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.

Tip No. 11: I recommend against giving players fruit or fruit juice at any time prior to or during a game or practice. First, some children are allergic to some fruit, especially oranges. Second, it's messy and creates a mess for someone to clean up, and can attract wasps and bees. Third, it is full of sugars and if they eat the fruit it has to be digested. Fruit juice apparently doesn't have any more benefits as fast energy than sugared drinks, but it does have potential problems. Here is what the American Academy of Pediatrics says: "drinking too much juice can contribute to obesity, the development of cavities (dental caries), diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems, such as excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pain."

Tip No. 12: The referee has the authority to stop a soccer game for a fluids break if it is hot and humid.

Tip No. 13: What does Gatorade contain and how do it's ingredients compare to water, to other sports drinks and to Pedialyte? There are different formulas, but when I last checked the original Gatorade (Thirst Quencher) contained carbohydrates (sugar and dextrose in the powder and sugar and high-fructose corn syrup in the liquid), sodium and potassium (check the ingredients on the container). The sugar/dextrose is preferable to the liquid that contains high-fructose corn syrup. The carbohydrate content is 6% (Note: I have read that this is the ideal %, because it is quickly absorbed by the body). Per 8 ounces of water, there are 14 grams of carbs, 50 calories, 110 MG of sodium (salt), 30 MG of potassium and no caffeine. By comparison, Pedialyte, which is sometimes recommended by doctors for children who are losing fluids from vomiting or diarrhea has a 3% carb content, 6 grams of carbs, 24 calories, 245 G of sodium and 185 G of potassium. Many of the sports drinks seem to have about the same % of carb content, although the amount of sodium and potassium varies. Bottled water has no carbs, no sodium and no potassium.

Tip No. 14: Performance Benefits of Gatorade vs. Plain Water: I have read reports that studies have found that soccer players who hydrated with Gatorade as recommended were able to run faster in the second half than those who only drank water. Due to the fact that Gatorade contains carbohydrates and electrolytes, this seems reasonable because sugar is a source of quick energy.

There are more Tips for Hot Weather on SocerHelp Premium.

David at SoccerHelp