This year, the weather at the World Cup is getting its own share of coverage: teams are struggling to perform in hot, humid conditions. And unlike other athletes, they don’t have the option of sipping water throughout the game. So what can pro athletes do to beat the heat? Read on for some hydration tips from Doug Casa.
Elite soccer matches such as this years’ World Cup in Brazil pose a unique stress to the athletes playing in the matches. During the 90-minute match, teams are limited to 3 substitutions in total, meaning most of the starting players will play the entire match. In addition, the running clock time limits the ability of these players to get adequate hydration during the match, which can affect overall performance — especially in hot and humid conditions. World Cup players need a proper hydration strategy in order to maximize athletic performance.
Players approaching soccer in the World Cup matches need to start the match a hydrated state to optimize performance: staying hydrated will keep body temperature and heart rate lower during the match, increase endurance performance and increase cognitive function during play. Players must take advantage of the halftime period to rehydrate to minimize sweat losses that occurred during the first half to be prepared for the second half. After the match players should replace sweat losses in preparation for their next game.