Georgia Express FC

Hydration is More than Thirst


Most soccer players bring their water bottle along for practice or a game then take a sip whenever they are a bit thirsty. When you really understand the role of water in your body, you’ll never look at your water bottle the same way.

Our bodies are over 60% water, and H2O is used by the body to do most everything necessary to survive. It helps transport nutrients and other important materials through the body, is used in the process of creating energy, and helps keep your body temperature close to 98.6 degrees. You can live many days without food, but take away water and no one would last very long.

When you play a sport like soccer, what do yo think happens to your body? Your body creates heat, and you can see that as your face becomes red and hot when you’re running hard. You sweat, which uses up more water. Your muscles contract and relax, back and forth continuously. All of this uses water quickly and point to some of the reasons you need to be hydrated (which really means adequately filling your body with water).

When you are thirsty, your body is telling you that it needs more water. The problem often that by the time you’re actually drinking water, your performance suffers. Muscles that aren’t hydrated will perform at a lower level than muscles that are in good shape. Get too low on water, and your muscles may cramp. This can bring a player to a halt, certainly bringing your team down in the process.

Hydration should start well before you plan to play in a game or practice. Top players start hydrating more than twelve hours before a big game, drinking water to both clean out the system and to hydrate the body. Water is best that early, while drinking a sports drink with the extra carbohydrates and nutrients works well thirty minutes before the game. Drinking too much in the couple hours before a game may make you need to use the bathroom, so be a little careful as the game gets close.

During a game, try and grab a sip of water if possible during breaks. Don’t drink too much as it can cause problems with your stomach. If you’re thirsty though, grab a sip when you can. Juices and sodas should always be avoided, especially at halftime.

After a game, you need to still think about hydration. That’s actually a great time for a sports drink, then switch back to water later in the day.

Every soccer player has to manage his and her own body. Hydration is one of the most important keys to preventing energy and performing at your best.