Hydration is very important part for athletic performance, and as an athlete, your hydration levels should be monitored according to intensity of training, duration, frequency, fitness level and environmental conditions.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration are:
- lack of concentration
- early fatigue in training session
- exertion in training
- trouble tolerating heat
- delayed recovery
- muscle cramps
- elevated heart rate
One time, while playing during volleyball playoffs, I didn't hydrate well and instead used an energy drink to replenish...BAD DECISION. I had to be escorted to the locker room in the middle of the game to get first aid due to tachycardia. After that experience, I learned to take hydration seriously.
The recommended water consumption according to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Nutrition Team depends on when you are on training at the moment: 2-3 hours before training > 16oz, 15 minutes before = 8oz. During training, you should consume enough to limit dehydration to <2% body weight loss. After training, you should consume 16-24 oz for every pound lost.
Hydration helps to recover quickly from training and enhance motor control. Simple ways to increase fluid intake include carrying a bottle of water at all times, aiming to drink two cups of water at all meals, and drinking 8 oz of 100% fruit juice for breakfast. If you are not the type of person who drinks a lot of water, I get it--it is hard in the beginning, but your health is worth it.
Remember hydration is vitally important for your performance on and off the court or field, and you should make it a priority.