Water is fine for normal, one-hour practices and games. For longer and higher intensity training, the calories found in sports drinks help replace those used up. Try to stay away from caffeinated and sugared drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will pull water out of your system. Have you ever noticed that after you drink soda, you have to urinate more often? That is why. Sugared and caffeinated drinks will often give you a temporary energy “buzz”, but this is soon replaced by a feeling of loss of energy after the effects of the caffeine and sugar have worn off.
The longer and more intensely you are active, the more you need to drink. Common sense! Dehydration of as small an amount as 2% of your body weight due to sweating can lead to a drop in blood volume. This means your heart has to work harder to move your blood around your body. Proper hydrations before and after exertions are important to maintaining muscle function and body temperature, as well as cardiac function.
Make sure you drink plenty of fluids with meals. This way, you do not have to “load up” on fluids just before a game and risk an upset stomach.