top of page


The thirst mechanisms of children and adolescents are not fully developed, so young athletes typically do not consume enough fluid before and during exercise.

Simply put, too many young athletes come to me dehydrated before a workout begins.

This is not good.

Not getting enough fluids, high humidity or environmental temperature can interfere with the body’s ability to maintain a normal temperature. This combination of factors can, needlessly, lead to heat-related illness and worse.

Bottom Line. Youth athletes require more supervision to ensure they follow all fluid recommendations closely and consistently. Thus, my mandatory hydration requirements for all athletes I work with:

11 & Under - 64 ozs of fluid

12 & Up - 128 ozs of fluid

During most activities, adequate water intake can help prevent dehydration and heat exhaustion.

However, activities that are greater than 60 minutes, like a football Clinic or Camp, a sports drink with carbohydrates provides fuel for the nervous and muscular systems, and may enhance performance.

Important Guidelines for Parents

  • Parents:

  • It is imperative that you take the time to ensure your athlete drinks enough fluid before AND after events.

  • Two hours before games and practices, give your child a container with 16 to 24 ounces of fluid. Check to make sure they drank the entire container. Follow the post-exercise guidelines below.

  • This is especially important when it’s hot or humid outside to prevent heat-illness


  • Thirst

  • Dry mouth/cotton mouth

  • Headaches or lightheadedness

  • Fatigue or weakness

  • Muscle cramps

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Flushing (red) skin

  • Dry skin (sweating stops)

  • Rapid breathing

  • Increased heart rate

  • Dark yellow (concentrated) urine

General Fluid Requirements

  • Fluids should be cold, palatable and selected based on the type and duration of the activity.

  • Sports drinks should contain four to eight percent carbohydrate. Drinks greater than 10 percent carbohydrate may slow stomach emptying, cause abdominal cramping and impair performance.

  • Drinks with a combination of glucose, glucose polymers and fructose may enhance water absorption.

  • Solutions containing primarily fructose can cause an upset stomach and should be avoided. Be sure to check the food label for ingredients.

Pre-Exercise Guidelines

  • Drink approximately 16 to 24 ounces of fluid two hours before activity.

  • On warm or humid days, drink and an additional eight to 16 ounces 30 to 60 minutes before activity.

  • Water is adequate for activities less than an hour as long as meals are consumed regularly.

  • For training sessions longer than 60 minutes, like a Football Clinic or Camp, choose a sports drink containing four to eight percent carbohydrate (e.g. Gatorade).

  • During Exercise

  • For prolonged exercise greater than 4 hours, like a Football Clinic or Camp, choose a sports drink with small amounts of electrolytes.

Post-Exercise Guidelines

  • Immediately following activity, drink at least 16 to 20 ounces of fluid for every pound of weight lost to ensure proper rehydration. Supervise your youth athletes to ensure they drink the entire amount of fluid you provide.

  • A liquid shake with high carbohydrate content, minimal protein and fat can refuel energy stores and maximize recovery after demanding training bouts. Consume this as soon as possible after workouts or events.

  • Drink an additional 16 ounces with your post workout meal. This meal should be consumed within two hours after activity.

  • Weigh yourself each morning. A stable weight generally indicates proper fluid balance.

This may seem like a lot, but good hydration habits, help to keep your athlete safe and performing to the best of their abilities and are well worth the effort.


44 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page