This week, a heatwave has hit England and football teams around the country have had to alter the way they train. It doesn’t take much for players to get overcome by heat. In some cases, players can suffer heatstroke when the temperatures get too hot and they exert themselves too much during football training.
Coping with heat may not be something many footballers think about because the weather is cool for much of the season. Yet, when summertime occurs and preseason begins — or the regular season for some teams in some countries — warm weather can cause issues.
How to cool off when it gets hot at football training
Acclimatise to the heat
One of the best ways to prepare players for warm weather is to build them up to it. This will allow footballers to get used to the hot weather. If your team is going to play a summer tournament or travel abroad to play during months of warm weather, players can be acclimatised to hot weather in just over a week at football training.
Players can be trained at moderate levels during warm practice sessions as they build up with each session. Coaches will want to monitor their players and provide frequent water breaks.
Electrolytes are important and players lose these through sweating. Just sitting or standing in warm weather or exposed to the sun can see you lose electrolytes. Sports drinks such as Gatorade replenish the body with electrolytes. Sports drinks are a good way to rehydrate during and after a match.
Potassium and sodium are two important minerals that you lose through sweating, so eating foods that help you replace these key items is important when training or playing in hot weather.
Drink water early and often
It is recommended that footballers should begin hydrating their bodies two to three hours before they begin training or play a match on a hot day.
Players should take on fluids regularly during training and games. It is recommended that players drink water or a sports drink in 20-minute intervals.
Not only can hydrating your body help you play better, but in extreme conditions, it can save your life.