Hydration
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An important measure to prevent a drop in performance is fluids. When you train hard or play a football match, you sweat. You need to replace that loss of fluid (called rehydration). The loss of fluid also depends on the weather conditions: in warm environments you sweat a lot more: On a hot day, sweat losses may reach 3 litres whereas on a cold day you might lose very little sweat. Your drinking has to make up for this loss.

What to drink?

You can either drink water or sports drinks, both help you to limit dehydration. Fruit juices need to be diluted with water. Sports drinks contain carbohydrates. You benefit from the energy they provide during longer training sessions or during matches. They are also helpful after a session when you are not hungry but need to refill fluid and energy stores.

How much to drink?

Aim to drink about 1.2-1.5 litres of fluid for each kilogram of weight you have lost in training or matches. This is already part of the preparation for the next session. You need to get a feeling for the sweat you loose and the fluid you need in order to adjust your drinking practice.

Look at your urine color…

does it look like

  • Lemonade? = ok
  • Apple juice? = drink more

If urine colour becomes darker you may not be drinking enough.

If you are passing urine less often than normal, you may be dehydrated.

When to drink?

In hot weather, drink about 500 ml in the 60-90 minutes before the start of the match. Look that you find moments during the training session when you can drink. Organise within your team drinking breaks or provide drinks at the side-line when you play a match. After a session or match, drink to refill your fluid stores.

For more information, please refer to the 'Nutrition for Football' PDF (pages 25-27)

References:
- Consensus Statement: Nutrition for football: the FIFA/F-MARC Consensus Conference.
- Journal of Sports Sciences 2006;24(7):663-664; and other articles of the supplement “Nutrition and football”