We all know that it’s very important for our athletes to be hydrated. We tell kids to start hydrating the day before they play because when they feel thirsty on game day it is already too late. We tell them to skip the sodas and drink water to help them play their best. We buy them the best water bottles and drag in a cooler full of bottled water every game. So hydration is important!
Well, now that we know it’s important, how much is enough?
On a typical day (no competition or practice) an athlete should generally follow this rule of thumb. Divide your weight in half and drink an ounce of water for each pound. For example, a ballplayer who weighs 160 pounds should drink 80 ounces of water every day. This will keep the body comfortably hydrated.
On a day where there will be a great deal of exertion — tournaments or practices are great examples — athletes should follow these guidelines:
1. Drink at least 16 ounces of water 2 hours before beginning your workout and another 8 to 16 ounces right before you play.
2. During the games or practices you should drink water at least every twenty minutes. If it is very hot or the effort is very high then you should be drinking 4 to 6 ounces at each 20 minute water break.
3. After you finish your game or practice you should drink at least 16 ounces of water to replenish your levels. It is also a great idea to eat watery foods like fruit or vegetables to help refuel your body.
If your athlete will have trouble keeping track of the system listed above there is another option called “The Rule of Eight.”
It’s simple: At least eight times a day drink a large glass of water, at least 8 ounces.
All athletes lose fluids at different rates. Since there are so many variables to consider, teaching our kids to hydrate and to be serious about it will go along way to ensure that our athletes stay healthy and perform their best.
Coaches, build in consistent water breaks, emphasize the importance of hydration, model good healthy hydration and everyone will be happier and healthier!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.