In a hot climate, regardless if you are in this environment all year round or if it is hot in your spring and summer, you still must be able to train at a the highest intensity possible. It is for that reason you need to be aware of your soccer player’s physical health.
The most important thing is to keep your players hydrated on a consistent basis. First let us take a look at the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion is the early stage of heat illness and is the most common form you see with soccer training. This occurs after long periods of training in a hot environment.
Heat exhaustion is an early indication that the body’s temperature regulating system is becoming overwhelmed. If not addressed immediately it may lead to heat stroke and death.
Soccer players lose fluid through sweating which decrease blood volume. Blood flows to the skin away from the vital organs like the heart, lungs and kidneys.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion
Normal or below body temperature
Cool moist pale skin
Heat stroke is the least common and most severe heat related illness. This occurs if you ignore the signs of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body’s cooling mechanism cannot function due lack of treatment. Sweating stops and the body cannot cool itself and body temperature rises at a quick rate. Unfortunately if there is no treatment vital organs like the heart, kidney and brain begin to fail. If there is no medical treatment death is imminent!
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke
High body temperature
Red hot dry skin
Progressive loss of consciousness
Rapid, weak pulse,
Rapid, shallow breathing
Here are five things you can do to prevent heat illnesses.
1) Find an area with shade either under tress or a tent. Just getting a player out of the direct heat can help them lower their body temperature.
2) Take a water break every fifteen to twenty minute from soccer training
3) Encourage pre-hydration. Make sure your players have plenty of fluid before soccer training.
4) Immediately after training make sure your soccer players have at least 250ml to 500ml of fluid. At this sports drink is good to have for electrolyte balance.
5) Players should avoid eating anything heavy before they train. The less the stomach contains the less stress on the body during training.
Keep this in mind with younger players. They do not have fully developed sweat glands. Youth Soccer players, until they reach puberty, cool down through urination. Many coaches and parents are unaware of this so keep this mind If you are working with younger soccer players.
Finally, training soccer players until exhaustion in the heat will lead to preventable injuries. Sometimes less is better than more.
Enjoy your training in the heat.