Importance of Water
Professionalism for Performance Series
Dr. Timothy Baghurst
With the development of sports drinks and other liquid beverages, water has lost some respect within the sports world. We are bombarded with commercials informing us of the need to consume sports drinks and rehydrate using specialized formulas. Unfortunately, many athletes have been conned into thinking that something other than water is necessary for elite-level performance. That simply is not true.
Sports drinks have their place, but only in specific situations should sports drinks be consumed. Water is more than adequate for almost all situations in racquetball. This is very important outside of competition, where really anything but water is almost completely unnecessary.
There are people that don’t even drink water. Ever. If you don’t drink water at all, you cannot compete at your best. It’s that simple. You should always be drinking water throughout the day and especially during and after exercise. Here are some general tips to make sure that you’re hydrated before you compete, avoid dehydration while you play, and get rehydrated afterwards.
- Two-thirds of your body is water. If you lower your water level by even 2% your body becomes dehydrated, slower, and functions worse.
- Weigh yourself before and after you practice. The weight loss you experience is almost completely due to sweat. Understand how much water you lose when you play and be sure to replenish it.
- Drink water daily. It should be the main source of liquid above all others.
- Carry around a water bottle with you and drink throughout the day.
- If your urine is not clear or only light yellow, then you are dehydrated.
- The darker your urine the more dehydrated you are.
- Carry a water bottle with you when you’re traveling and keep drinking.
- Bathroom stops are okay.
- Don’t get dehydrated because you don’t want to use the bathroom during travel.
Before Your Match:
- Begin drinking regularly for 24 hours before your match (really all the time but this is a crucial time period).
- If you’re thirsty, you aren’t drinking enough, and you’re already dehydrated.
- Drink at least a glass of water immediately when you wake up.
- Drink small sips as you get closer to your match. Don’t drink a lot at once.
- Drink cool water. Warm or cold water does not process as well and can cause cramping.
- Mixing a sports powder with the water is okay, but be careful to make sure it’s diluted correctly. Sports drinks are designed to work in a specific concentration.
- Drink during every break/timeout even if it’s just one or two sips.
- Don’t drink quickly. Sip not gulp.
- Drink at least a glass or bottle of water immediately after your match.
- Continue sipping water over the next few hours (depending on when your next match is)
- You should try and get back the water you sweated within a few hours (you should have an idea of how much water you need to replenish from your practices).