Hydration is extremely important on hot spring and summer days, especially for baseball players. Although we are still in March, hot days are happening, and more are coming. When you are playing a double-header on an unseasonably warm day this spring, use these tips to stay hydrated and compete at your peak all season long.
Don't Wait Until You're Thirsty
The first thing to remember is that thirst is not the best indicator of hydration level. If you wait until you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. On a hot or humid day, drink 16 ounces of water at least an hour before the first pitch. During the game, drink six ounces every two innings. If you follow those simple guidelines, you should stay fully hydrated. If you want a more specific plan, use the following tip.
Replace Lost Fluids
Weigh yourself before practice and again after practice. However much weight you lost during gameplay is the amount of fluid you need to replace—16 ounces for each pound lost. If you are a pound and a half lighter, you need to drink 24 ounces of fluids during or after the game. If you weigh yourself consistently, you'll find that the hotter the day, the more weight you'll lose and therefore the more fluid you'll need to replace.
Water vs. Sports Drink
Your last consideration is to drink water or a sports drink. Which one is better for staying hydrated in baseball? I always say that water is perfectly suitable unless you are doing some serious distance training, like preparing for a marathon or the Tour De France. However, if it's a really hot day or you're playing on back-to-back days, a sports drink may be the better option, because it helps prevent cramps. If weight gain is a concern, opt for water or a low-cal version of a sports drink. But no matter what, drink a sufficient amount, because staying hydrated is paramount.
Being dehydrated can cause you to lose focus, power and stamina, all of which are needed for the late innings of games. The hot spring and summer months can take their toll when you are out in the sun. Stay hydrated so you can go strong for all nine innings.
Joe Lopez, CSCS, works with many different athletes at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta, N.J. His expertise is in track and field, baseball and golf. He has worked as a personal trainer for more than seven years. Follow him online at jerseystrong.wordpress.com or on Twitter.
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