Proper hydration is crucial for any athlete, but especially for youth sports athletes who are still growing and developing. Dehydration can have serious consequences, such as heat stroke, cramps, and even organ damage.
Why is hydration important for youth sports athletes?
Hydration helps regulate body temperature, which is essential during physical activity. When you exercise, your body produces heat, which needs to be dissipated in order to maintain a safe body temperature. If you become dehydrated, your body has a harder time regulating its temperature, which can lead to overheating and heat stroke.
Additionally, staying hydrated helps your body transport nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. This is important for youth sports athletes because they are still growing and developing. Proper hydration can help ensure that their muscles and bones receive the nutrients they need to develop properly.
Finally, hydration is important for maintaining mental focus and alertness. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and brain fog, which can negatively impact performance on the field or court.
This article is provided by iSport360, a youth sports software company that helps young athletes and their team improve communication, organization and player development. Learn how to make every youth sports season a success for players, coaches, and parents.
How much water should youth sports athletes drink?
The amount of water a youth sports athlete should drink depends on several factors, including their age, weight, gender, and the intensity and duration of their activity. As a general rule, they should aim to drink at least 8-10 cups of water per day, and even more if they are participating in intense physical activity.
It’s also important to note that not all fluids are created equal. Sugary drinks like soda or sports drinks can actually dehydrate the body, so it’s important to stick to water or other hydrating fluids like coconut water or low-sugar electrolyte drinks.
Tips for staying hydrated during youth sports activities
Start hydrating early:
- Youth sports athletes should start hydrating several hours before their activity, especially if it’s going to be hot and humid outside. Aim to drink at least 16 ounces of water 2-3 hours before the activity, and another 8-10 ounces 10-20 minutes before the activity.
Bring a water bottle:
- It’s important to have easy access to water during physical activity. Encourage your youth sports athlete to bring a water bottle with them to practice or games, and to take frequent water breaks.
Consider electrolyte drinks:
- If your youth sports athlete is participating in a high-intensity activity for an extended period of time, they may benefit from an electrolyte drink. These drinks contain minerals like sodium and potassium that help the body retain water and stay hydrated.
Monitor urine color:
- The color of urine can be a good indicator of hydration levels. Encourage your youth sports athlete to monitor the color of their urine – if it’s light yellow or clear, they’re properly hydrated. If it’s dark yellow or amber, they need to drink more water.
Take breaks in the shade:
- If it’s hot and sunny outside, encourage your youth sports athlete to take frequent breaks in the shade to cool off and drink water.
Proper hydration is essential for youth sports athletes. It helps regulate body temperature, transport nutrients to muscles, and maintain mental focus and alertness. Encourage your youth sports athlete to drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity, and to take breaks in the shade to cool off and stay hydrated. With these tips, they’ll be able to perform at their best on the field or court.
Learn more or Book a Demo of our youth sports software that is helping teams improve communication, organization, and player development.
About the author:
Amy Masters is a sports mom, coach and club administrator. She has been coaching youth sports for more than 10 years. She started Jr Lions Field Hockey, the youth recreation program for the Hunterdon County community growing it from 40 players in year 1 to 150 players by year 3. A few years later, she saw the love and competitiveness grow then started Omega Field Hockey Club serving NJ and PA players. Prior to coaching, she was a collegiate field hockey player for Lock Haven University. In her spare time (lol), she is head of marketing for iSport360, where she brings her love of sports to a bigger audience.