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Hydration Guidelines

nited States Soccer Federation Guidelines for Youth Hydration (2012)

 The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has some excellent guidelines concerning youth hydration. In brief, a couple of highlights from the document:

 “Fluids to Avoid During Practice or Games” [as well as the night/morning before]

During active occasions, carbonated beverages, such as soft drinks, can reduce voluntary drinking due to stomach fullness and throat burn when gulping.

Caffeinated beverages have a mild diuretic effect and therefore could promote dehydration by increasing urine production during active occasions.

Energy drinks should be avoided because many contain caffeine and have a high carbohydrate concentration, which slows fluid absorption.

Fruit juices can slow fluid absorption and cause upset stomach during activity.”

Players arrive at practices and games dehydrated:

“"We were amazed that two-thirds of youth players arrived at practice significantly dehydrated and, in turn, were potentially at-risk for heat illness from the moment they stepped on the field," said Douglas Casa, lead researcher and director of athletic training at the University of Connecticut. "Findings like this reinforce the fact that youth soccer players should be drinking before, during and after practice and games. They should avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages, and consume a sports drink with electrolytes such as sodium, which research shows is better than water to keep kids hydrated for optimal safety."

 “Key points from the guidelines include making sure youth players gradually adapt to increased exposure to high temperatures and humidity; recognize the signs of heat illness; and realize that thirst is not an accurate indication of fluid needs.

 To ensure these points are memorable for coaches, parents and kids, the U.S. Soccer Federation has developed the acronym -- G.O.A.L-- which stands for:

 Get acclimated - bodies need time to gradually adapt to increased exposure to high temperatures and humidity (especially young athletes)

 On schedule drinking - Youth athletes should be encouraged to drink on a schedule before they become thirsty, and should drink before, during and after practice and games.

 Always bring a sports drink - replacing electrolytes and providing energy is crucial to keeping kids safe and performing at their best.

 Learn the signs - if someone becomes unusually fatigued, dizzy, and nauseous or has a headache during exercise in the heat, have them stop, rest, and drink fluids.

As one of the best means to preventing heat illness, The U.S. Soccer Federation recommends parents and coaches ensure children are well hydrated before practice and games. During activity, young athletes should drink on a schedule; because thirst is not an accurate indicator of fluid needs, athletes should drink before they become thirsty.”

Hydration