Too much–and not enough: That’s the trouble of being dehydrated in a pool. If you’re a swim coach, you’re not just working on technique; you’re focused on your athletes’ overall well-being. With every improved stroke or next kick, your swimmer exerts a little more energy and thus becomes a little less hydrated. Replenishing their water supply isn’t just a recommendation; it’s a requirement courtesy of Mother Nature herself. Let’s explore how you can help your athlete listen to her (and you) to properly raise their level of hydration and success.
Why hydration matters
Here’s something you already know: Swimming is a demanding sport. What else would you call a competitive activity that engages multiple muscle groups, increases heart rate, and triggers sweat production, even in a pool’s cool waters? All this physical exertion translates to a rapid loss of fluids and electrolytes. When your swimmers become dehydrated, their performance can take a nosedive. Hydration plays a crucial role in:
- Maintaining endurance: Adequate hydration supports energy levels, allowing swimmers to sustain their performance during long races and intense training sessions.
- Temperature regulation: Pools might feel refreshing, but they can cause the body to lose heat faster than one might realize. Proper hydration helps regulate body temperature, preventing overheating.
- Focus and concentration: Dehydration can lead to mental fatigue, hampering focus and decision-making abilities, both of which are pivotal in competitive swimming.
- Muscle function: Muscles require proper hydration to contract efficiently. Inadequate fluid intake can result in cramping and decreased performance.
What you can do about it
Hydration is a habit, akin to any other routine you’ve done with your athletes. Don’t skip out on these practices:
- Education: Don’t just tell them to do it; tell them WHY they should do it, even if it’s just the points made in the previous section. Knowledge is a powerful motivator, and if they know how hydration impacts their performance, they’re more likely to practice it.
- Pre- and post-session hydration: Encourage swimmers to start their sessions well-hydrated and to maintain this hydration level throughout. It’s important to drink water throughout the entire day, not just after exertion. Post-session, they should continue hydrating to replenish fluids lost during exercise.
- Individualized approach: Each swimmer’s hydration needs might differ based on factors like weight, intensity of exercise, and climate. Especially if a swimmer is struggling, help them develop a personalized hydration plan that caters to their specific requirements.
- Electrolyte awareness: Sweating not only leads to fluid loss but also electrolyte depletion. Educate swimmers about the role of electrolytes and suggest incorporating balanced electrolyte-rich foods or drinks into their routines. Online or in any given grocery store, there are certainly plenty of stirrable powders or refreshing drinks to choose from.
- Hydration monitoring: Keep an eye on your swimmers during training. Make water breaks a routine part of their sessions, and remind them to sip water regularly. Better yet, consider making it a requirement to bring a large water bottle to the pool.
Rule of thumb: As a swimmer, never wait until you’re thirsty to take a drink. As a coach, never wait until you’re overwhelmed to get help with your daily processes. Captyn’s comprehensive management platform is here to enhance all things administrative, helping you stay refreshed and focused on the holistic improvement of your athletes. We offer features such as easy enrollment, roster management, payment reminders, and individual or mass communication via text/email.
More than anything, our users come back to tell us how much time they save with Captyn on a daily basis. That means more time to manage your team and take a sip of water yourself. Reach out today to schedule your demo.