Hydration and Fluid Intake

Most of us are chronically dehydrated. Your body needs about 20 ml of water per kilo of body weight everyday.

For example, if you child weight 50 kilograms, they will need an absolute minimum of 1 litre of water a day; more if they exercise or sweat.

Dehydration impairs performance and mental skills, body processes and detoxification. It is important that your child drinks enough water everyday, especially on game day, to perform at their peak and to enable optimal recovery.

Water is essential to maintain blood volume, regulate body temperature and allow muscle contractions to take place. During exercise, the main way the body maintains optimal body temperature is by sweating. Heat is removed from the body when beads of sweat on the skin evaporate, resulting in a loss of body fluid. Therefore drinking fluid during exercise is necessary to replace lost sweat.

In the half hour prior to their game, aim for your child to drink around 250ml of electrolyte drink (prepared yourself). Cool water (not ice cold) needs to be made available to all players at frequent intervals during each game. With most junior games being played over 40 to 60 minutes broken into quarters, encourage your child to drink at least half a cup of liquid, or a few good mouthfuls, at each break.

During the day, it is vital that your child continues to drink regularly to prevent dehydration, especially if they are playing multiple games.

Some players will obviously need more fluid than others, so keep checked how your child is feeling. If they are feeling hot, or starting to look flushed, encourage them to drink more water.

Immediately after the game (or training), encourage your child to drink another 500 millilitres of water mixed with the electrolyte power.

Avoid Gatorade or any ‘Sports' water. These are simply sugar waters that offer no real advantage to your child. Those claiming to be ‘low joule' are packed full with nasty artificial sweeteners – something that should definitely be avoided at all costs.

To replace the electrolytes lost during the day, use a proper electrolyte supplement, like Musashi Electrolyte or Metagenics Endura (see product guide).