For youth athletes, the spring and summer sports season is an exciting – and extremely active – time of year. But the fundamentals of proper hydration are often lost in that excitement.
We’ve all heard about the dangers of dehydration in youth sports, especially in the high heat of summer. But when proper hydration is stressed at every game and practice – particularly those lasting more than an hour, when the risks of dehydration are greater – it can be avoided entirely.
Athletes should always drink enough fluid before, during and after practice. Plus, coaches should offer enough time at each practice for kids to rehydrate, rest and get out of the sun. Here are four additional steps parents and coaches can take to thwart exercise-induced dehydration:
The Youth Sport Safety Alliance found that up to two-thirds of youth athletes often start practice suffering from mild to moderate dehydration Thus, it’s especially important that your kids hit the fluids before they hit the field. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association recommends youth athletes start hydrating a few hours in advance. Their guidelines:
- Kids should drink 500-600 ml of water or an electrolyte-enhanced drink, like Drip Drop, 2-3 hours before practice.
- And 10-20 minutes before practice, youngsters should drink an additional 200-300 ml.
Enhance Water with Electrolytes
Adding electrolytes to your kids’ water bottle offers several benefits, especially for extended periods in the heat. First, it will help them replace lost electrolytes, while increasing their ability to retain fluids. Plus, an electrolyte-enhanced drink like Drip Drop also stimulates thirst – which encourages kids to drink more – due to higher salt content and better taste.
Educate Your Kids about Dehydration
Younger athletes don’t always recognize the early warning signs of dehydration. Therefore, before the start of the season, parents and coaches should give youth athletes a quick primer on dehydration. The warning signs every athlete should recognize include dizziness, thirst, headaches, cramping and weakness.
Let Athletes Acclimate to the Heat
Early in the season, athletes need time to acclimate to the heat. In the first week of exercise in a warmer environment, for instance, athletes sweat more, and thus, lose more electrolytes. The NATA recommends adding electrolytes, particularly sodium, to water during the first week of practice in hot environments.
Why Drip Drop Is Great for Youth Athletes
Drip Drop is a healthy addition to your child’s water bottle for many reasons. First, Drip Drop has 2-3 times the electrolytes of sports drinks and a fraction of the calories. The added electrolytes increase fluid retention and speed up hydration. Plus, Drip Drop tastes great, which encourages athletes to drink more.
And it’s really that simple. Water doesn’t always offer maximum rehydration power, especially during extended sessions in the sun. Drip Drop, on the other hand, is a powerful, fast-acting, great-tasting alternative.