anb keeping the game of soccer beautiful

Are water breaks necessary during soccer practices?

YES! But why?

• 2/3 of soccer athletes arrive at practice de-hydrated
• Children absorb more heat from a hot environment because they have a greater surface
   area to body-mass ratio than adults - the smaller the child, the faster they absorb heat
• Children and adolescents may have a reduced ability to lose heat through sweating
• During prolonged exercise, children and adolescents frequently do not have the
• Physiological drive to drink enough fluids to replenish sweat losses
• Youth athletes are easily distracted when they should be resting and rehydrating
• Some youth athletes may be under intense pressure to make a competitive squad and
   may not want to report feelings of heat distress or take the appropriate amount of time
   to rehydrate

Factors affecting De-hydration:

• Games are held outdoors, often in high temperatures and humidity, on large fields that
   offer little or no shade
• FieldTurf expends more energy on muscles
• Games and practice sessions when players are confronted with extreme hot
   and humid conditions
• No medical / physiotherapists around
• Mental alertness and skill performance declines with dehydration6 and could be a factor
   in injuries occurring late in matches and training sessions
• Medical staff, parents, playersand coaches must understand that thirst is not a good
   indicator of a child’s fluid needs, so children need to drink on a schedule


• Players should try to limit fluid losses to 1-2% of body weight or less
• Before prolonged physical activity, the child should be well hydrated
• During the activity, periodic drinking should be enforced even if the child does not feel
   thirsty. Each 15-20 minutes the child or adolescent should consume:
       - 5 ounces of fluid for a player weighing 90 lbs or less
       - 9 ounces of fluid for a player weighing more than 90 lbs


Kids need to drink enough of the right fluids to minimize fluid losses during activity. Flavored beverages that contain sodium (sports drinks) are preferable because the child may drink more.

Research shows that lightly sweetened and flavored non-carbonated beverages, like sports drinks, are preferred during exercise and are consumed in greater volumes than water, diluted fruit juice or carbonated beverages

Research shows that fluids containing sodium chloride (sports drinks) increase voluntary drinking by 90%, compared to drinking plain water.

In addition to replacing fluid, children also need to replace the electrolytes, such as sodium, that are lost through sweat. Electrolyte replacement is important to stimulate an adequate thirst mechanism, help the body hold on to fluid, help prevent muscle cramps and to maintain sodium levels in the blood.

Immediately before and during activity, children should avoid fruit juices, carbonated beverages, caffeinated beverages and energy drinks. Fruit juices have a high sugar content that can slow fluid absorption, cause an upset stomach,19 and may also lack sodium. Carbonated beverages, such as soft drinks, can reduce voluntary drinking due to stomach fullness, throat burn when gulping and lack sodium.

Energy drinks should be avoided because many contain caffeine and have high carbohydrate concentrations which slows the emptying of fluids from the stomach

Noticeable de-hydration symptoms:

• Irritability
• Decreased performance
• Fatigue
• Weakness
• Nausea
• Headache
• Muscle cramping
• Dark yellow urine (or no desire to urinate)
• Lightheaded feeling or dizziness
• Difficulty paying attention


• Correct fluids
• Electrolyte replacement
• Child uses their own beverage container that they can keep cool during the practice
• Dehydrated player will have to work harder to maintain the same level of intensity than
   their hydrated teammate

More information on this subject can be reviewed at

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