Molly Morgan, an Apalachin, N.Y. resident, is a nutrition consultant for professional sports teams as well as a published author. She offers her thoughts on the best nutrition strategy for youth soccer players.
TIPS FOR HYDRATION
Proper hydration requires a full-day commitment. An athlete cannot expect to perform at his highest level if he’s not properly hydrated.
“The biggest rule of thumb for athletes is to arrive to games, practices and workouts hydrated and focus on hydration every day,” Morgan said. “Athletes should sip fluids throughout the day with the goal of having most of their daily fluid intake from water.”
Boys ages 14 to 18 should be drinking 11 cups of water a day. A football player should drink eight to 16 fluid ounces of water two hours before practice and another eight ounces 15 to 30 minutes before the training session.
During practice, a player should drink four to eight ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. After practice, he should replenish with 24 fluid ounces for every pound lost.
An easy way to monitor hydration status is by assessing urine color. The goal for athletes should be to have pale, lemonade-color urine. If the urine is darker, that is an indication of under-hydration and should signal the athlete to drink more fluids.
Symptoms of dehydration include noticeable thirst, irritability, fatigue, weakness, nausea, headache, cramping, dizziness, lightheadedness, difficulty paying attention and decreased performance.