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During training and games, players naturally generate heat leading to a rise in body temperature. A rise in body temperature can be both detrimental to performance but also continue to fatigue. Our bodies attempt to compensate for this by sweating.
When players do not consume enough fluids during training and games to compensate for these sweat losses, dehydration can quickly occur.
A loss as low as 2% of body weight has been shown to affect performance – in a 13.5 stone player, 2% is as little as 3.75 lbs. This may not sound much but in a single training session or game a player can easily lose up to 4% of their body weight.
Many players do not deal adequately with dehydration and in fact, never fully rehydrate after training or a game. This leads to players taking part in further training sessions or games already in a dehydrated state exposing themselves to a greater risk of injury.
In response to dehydration, you will feel thirsty, however, thirst is not a good indication of dehydration. By the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.
Use the chart below to establish hydration status and to give advice to your players on how much water is required.