Wednesday 17 July 2013
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Kids Need To Drink Fluids Before, During and After Sports

Category - Heat | Author - webmaster | Wednesday 17 July 2013 - 14:14:24

Here are the key points to keep in mind in making sure your child drinks enough fluids while playing sports to perform at her best and avoid dehydration: 
  • Kids should drink before, during and after sports. To prevent dehydration, or, worse yet, heat illness, you should encourage your child to drink cool fluids before, during, and after physical activity. Young athlete drinking from a water bottle
  • Kids should drink on a schedule, not when thirsty. Your child need to regulate his fluid intake by drinking according to a schedule, rather than in response to thirst, because thirst is not an accurate measure of a child's need for fluid. By the time your child says he is thirsty, he is already dehydrated. Consuming cool fluids at regular intervals during exercise protects your child's health and optimizes athletic performance.*
  • Kids should drink from their own water bottles. Children should have their own personalized water bottles and need to be reminded to drink 5 to 9 ounces (10 to 18 1/2 ounce "gulps") every 20 minutes during activity, depending on weight (Teenagers should drink more). Younger children should be given water bottles with marks on the sides showing how much they should drink each time or told how many "gulps" to drink.
  • Kids' fluid intake needs to be supervised. Children do not instinctively drink enough fluids to replace water losses, so it is essential that you watch to see how much water they actually drink. Parents should remind their kids to drink to stay hydrated, and make sure that their coaches see that they drink enough fluids during practices and games.
  • Kids need to be watched for signs of heat illness. During prolonged exercise, children and adolescents may not recognize the symptoms of heat stress and may push themselves to the point of heat-related illness. It's your job, and the coach's, to recognize the warning signs and act immediately.
Choosing the right fluids
  • Sports Drinks Are Best. The best source of fluid to hydrate the body - especially during intense exercise in the heat - is a sports drink. Your child will be more likely to drink the fluids she needs if you give her a flavored sports drink that tastes good and stimulates thirst. While sports drinks are absorbed just as quickly, and promote optimal cardiovascular function and temperature regulation as well as plain water, they offer the following advantages: 
    • Sports drinks contain glucose and sodium, which increase the rate of fluid absorption by the small intestine;
    • By providing carbohydrates for working muscles, sports drinks improve performance during both prolonged exercise (lasting an hour or more) and when exercising for an hour several times a day; and
    • They encourage drinking by "turning on" the thirst mechanism (research has shown that children stay better hydrated when drinking sports drinks compared to plain water). 
  • For optimal absorption and performance, look for sports drinks that contain: 
    • 4 to 8% carbohydrate (10 to 18 grams per 8 ounces)
    • About 36 to 77 calories per 8 ounces. 
  • Because most sports drinks contain 5 to 8% carbohydrates, it's a matter of personal preference: have your child try several sports drinks to find the one that works best for her. Note, however, that research has shown that children and those in early adolescence prefer grape-flavored sports drinks to apple or orange.
  • Avoid sugary or carbonated beverages.  Beverages that contain more than 10% carbohydrate (about 96 or more calories per 8 ounces), such as fruit juices, or energy drinks, or are high in fructose, like carbonated soft drinks, should be avoided. They are absorbed more slowly and can causes stomach cramps, nausea, bloating and diarrhea.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages. Children should avoid drinking ice tea or soft drinks containing caffeine because they are diuretics (promote urination), and because the potential side effects - agitation, nausea, muscle tremors, palpitations and headaches - work against peak athletic performance.  Energy drinks should NOT be used for hydration.
* Note to parents of water and winter sport athletes. Don't be lulled into thinking your child doesn't have as great a need to replace fluids as other athletes. A swimmer still loses body water through sweat in the pool, and can become dehydrated by sitting on the pool deck (a hot, humid environment) between exercise sessions or during a long meet (they always are!). Winter sports athletes (figure skaters, hockey players, skiers) also may not realize the importance of fluid replacementbecause they practice and play in a cool or cold environment, and because their clothing and equipment reduces the ability of the body to cool itself.

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Sports Drinks Versus Water: Which Hydrates Kids Best?

Category - Heat | Author - webmaster | Wednesday 17 July 2013 - 14:12:17

Sports Drinks Versus Water: Which Hydrates Kids Best?
By Brooke de Lench Reviewed by Susan Yeargin, Ph.D, ATC

Sports drinks hydrate better than water
A number of studies in recent years have shown that sports drinks re-hydrate kids who are active in the heat better than water. Given a choice, kids will drink a lot more of a sports drink than of a glass of water.

An oft-cited 1999 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that drinking a properly formulated sports drink with carbohydrates and electrolytes(sodium and potassium) increased fluid intake by nearly one-third (32%) compared to water. Because they taste better than water, sports drinks encouraged kids to keep drinking until their fluid needs were met. Another study, from 2003, reported that when drinking water, kids will drink only about 50 percent of what they need.  A Canadian study in the 1990's found that a flavored drink containing 6 percent carbohydrates and electrolytes (the amount found in most sports drinks) encouraged kids to drink 91 percent more than water alone.

Sports Drinks Versus Water
Sports DrinksWater
Maintain thirst, so kids keep drinking until fully hydratedEliminates thirst, so kids stop drinking before they are fully re-hydrated
Contain carbohydrates which provide energy for peak sports performanceContains no carbohydrates, so it does not provide the energy a child needs for running and playing all day
Contain electrolytes (sodium and potassium) which speed rehydration, create thirst, makes them taste better, and prevent heat crampsContains no electrolytes and lack the taste appeal of a sports drink
 Sports drinks replace electrolytes
Electrolytesare chemicals in the body fluids that result from the breakdown of salts, including sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride, which the body needs to maintain proper amounts of water inside cells, nerve conductivity, and allow for proper response by the cells to outside stimuli.Electrolyte deficits, particularly sodium, can cause lethargy, muscle cramping, and mental confusion, and even seizures. A properly formulated sports drink containing salts, particularly sodium, replaces electrolytes that active children lose through sweat and, because of their taste, promote re-hydration by maintaining thirst and encourage fluid intake.

Read more:

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Replace Electrolytes Lost During Sports

Category - Heat | Author - webmaster | Wednesday 17 July 2013 - 14:03:34

Replace Electrolytes Lost During Sports
Balanced Diet, Sports Drinks Help

Here's what you need to know about electrolytes:
Important for bodily functions

Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride are necessary for:
  • Maintaining fluid levels in the body
  • Muscle contractions;
  • Nerve impulse transmission; and
  • Conservation of fluids.
Lost during sports
  • Sweating results in the loss of both electrolytes (particularly sodium) and water
  • Water losses are proportionately greater than electrolyte losses, so the body's cells end up with a greater electrolyte concentration (this is the imbalance that is believed to lead to heat cramps)
  • As the body becomes acclimated to the heat, the sodium content of sweat decreases
  • As children matures they also conserve more salt but sweat more.
Replaced by foods in balanced diet
  • Salt: Your child's regular diet should provide an abundance of salt. For instance, a 2-pound loss of sweat results in a loss of only 1 gram of sodium -- an amount easily replaced by moderate salting of food (one half teaspoon of salt). Recommendation: Do not give your child salt tablets
  • Potassium: Replacing the small amount of potassium lost during exercise is easy. Orange juice, bananas and potatoes are all excellent sources of potassium. For instance, a large glass of orange juice will replace the potassium lost in about 4 pounds of sweat. Recommendation: Do not give your child potassium supplements: not only are they unnecessary, they can cause excessively high potassium levels in the blood, resulting in an abnormal heart rhythm.
When deficits occurElectrolyte deficits, particularly sodium, can occur under the following conditions:
  • In an individual who is a "salty sweater."
Young girl with sports drinks
Sports drinks containing sodium:
  • Reduce the risk of hyponatremia
  • Promote re-hydration following exercise by maintaining thirst (which keeps your child drinking) while delaying the production of urine. By contrast, drinking plain water eliminates thirst so your child stops drinking, and stimulates urine production.
  • Encourage fluid intake because the sodium makes them taste better.

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Children’s summer sports activities

Category - Heat | Author - webmaster | Wednesday 17 July 2013 - 12:52:51

Children’s summer sports activities and keeping children hydrated during summer sports, liability

Christopher J Zachar

Much has been written about the dangers of dehydration for children who are ill,  however, another group at risk which can be easily overlooked is young athletes. This includes softball and baseball players, youth football players and even soccer players. According to, an information source for parents whose children are involved in youth sports, "Dehydration can begin when an athlete loses as little as 1 percent (1%) of body weight.  In a 70-pound child, that is less than 1 pound of weight lost through sweat. As little as a 2% decrease in body weight from fluid loss (e.g. 1.2 lb for a 60-lb athlete) can lead to a significant decrease in muscular strength and stamina".

Children don't adapt as well as adults do to exercise in hot, humid weather. They produce more heat, sweat less and may be less likely to drink enough fluids during exercise — all of which increase the risk of dehydration. In turn, dehydration can lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. But you don't need to worry from the sidelines. Understand how heat-related problems happen and know how to prevent them.

Who's at risk

Any child who exercises in the heat may be at risk of dehydration. The concern is often greatest for young athletes who participate in football, soccer, cross-country and other sports that start in late summer.Your child may be particularly vulnerable to dehydration and other heat-related illnesses during summer workouts if he or she:
  • Rarely exercises
  • Has had a recent illness that caused vomiting or diarrhea
  • Has had a previous heat-related illness
Football players face special risks in the heat when exercising hard while wearing full protective gear.

Know when to slow down — or call it quits
Sometimes it's simply too hot and muggy to go full throttle on the field. To determine when heat and humidity make strenuous exercise risky for young athletes, your child's coach may monitor the wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) — the standard index of temperature and humidity combined. If the WBGT is too high, outdoor athletic activities may need to be limited or canceled.

Spotting dehydration and other heat-related problems

Even mild dehydration can affect your child's athletic performance and make him or her lethargic and irritable. Left untreated, dehydration increases the risk of other heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.Encourage your child to pay attention to early signs and symptoms of dehydration, including:
  • Dry or sticky mouth
  • Thirst
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Excessive fatigue
Remind your child that he or she is responsible for reporting these signs and symptoms to the coach right away. Don't let embarrassment keep your child on the field. If dehydration is detected early, fluids and rest may be all that's needed.  Also, you are the parent.  Don’t hesitate to walk down during a break and give your child some fluids.  If your child seems confused or loses consciousness, seek emergency care immediately.

Prevention is key
If your child plays sports in hot weather, encourage him or her to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after practices and games. Teach your child the signs and symptoms of dehydration, as well as the importance of speaking up if they occur. Involve your child's coach, too. Talk to the coach about adjusting the intensity of practice depending on the temperature and humidity on the field — and support the coach's decision to cancel games and practices when it's dangerously hot outside.

What's better: sport drinks or water while playing a sport?

Water is the most recommended fluid to take to replace water lost from perspiration and to combat thirst.  In an hour of routine exercise, a minimum of 10-12 ounces of water is recommended. It is the ideal choice for rehydration because it moves faster from the stomach through the blood stream.  It is also a very good idea to hydrate BEFORE the activity to be engaged in.  A good rule of thumb:  1-2 hours before, 1 oz of water for every 4 lbs of body weight (i.e. 100 lbs = 25 oz)

Other essential benefits from drinking water are:
  • It facilitates healthy digestion.
  • It effectively transports the nutrients.
  • It regulates temperature through the form of perspiration.
  • It lubricates joints and muscle tissues.
Sports Drink
The blandness in taste of water makes some look for other alternatives. Sports drinks with its attractive colors and flavors are becoming a popular replacement for drinking water. It has more benefits like additional calories that enhance endurance and boost energy.  Energy drinks can also reduce muscle damage due to extreme physical activity by replacing lost electrolytes. This, and uncounted advertisements are the reasons why sports drinks are popular compared to tasteless and colorless water.

Sports Drink vs. Water
The debate on “What’s better sport drinks or water while playing a sport?” will depend on many factors such as the amount of water and ions lost in the body, the climate of the local environment, and the degree of activity done. One important method of fluid maintenance is to start drinking water or sports drink about two (2) hours before working out to top up the loss of fluid from perspiration during exercise and most importantly, after the work out. Weighing is also one way to know whether how much fluid has been lost and needs to be replaced.

What Coaches Should Know

When players are practicing or competing, coaches should follow the following steps to help prevent heat related

Allow 10-14 days of light activity in the heat for adjusting to warmer climate/temperatures, and schedule less intense practices using lighter equipment at the start of the practice season  Schedule practice during cooler times of day  Athletes should hydrate throughout the day. Coaches and parents should teach athletes how to monitor their hydration levels by checking the volume, frequency, and color of their urine. If they are hydrated, their urine should look like lemonade. If their urine looks dark, like apple juice, they may need to drink more fluids.  Coaches should encourage athletes to weigh in and out before and after practices to determine individual fluid losses.  

Schedule and enforce frequent drink breaks and rest periods during physical activity Remove pads and practice in T-shirts and shorts Reduce intensity and/or length of training with high temperatures and/or humidity When it comes to keeping athletes safe on the field, water may not be enough. While water is fundamental to the body, it does not hydrate as effectively as a properly formulated sports drink with sodium. Ask athletes to buddy up during practice with a teammate to monitor for warning signs of heat Illness Overexposure to high temperature and humidity can cause heat-related illnesses. The National Weather Service issues heat alerts when the daytime heat index (a combination of temperature and humidity) is 105° F or more, which can dramatically increase the risk of the most serious heatrelated illnesses. At 80-105° F, fatigue and heat stroke are also possible with prolonged exposure. Athletes playing in the heat for long periods of time wearing protective padding are especially at risk.  Be prepared by having an ice-filled tub ready for immersing a player in case of an emergency. Carry a cell phone on the field at all times. Know the precise address of the practice or game field and any specific directions required by EMS responders. Remember to cool first before trying to transport the athlete.  


Weigh athletes following practice and compare to their weight beforehand to determine fluid losses. Coaches should monitor athletes to ensure they replace every pound lost during practice with approximately 20 ounces of fluid.  

Not All Athletes are Alike
Certain types of athletes might be at a higher risk for heat-related illness and should be monitored closely. These types of players include: Those with a prior history of heat illness Players with a medical history of gastrointestinal, diabetic, kidney, or heart problems. Players who were recently (within 2 weeks) ill with upper respiratory illness or cold or flu virus. These athletes may require special attention by coaches and quick action if any symptom of heat illness is noticed.  

Age Matters

Coaches working with kids should know children may be less tolerant of heat stress than adults, and may be at greater risk for heat illness.  

Hot Weather Safety Tips

An important step in avoiding heat illness is adjusting practice or game length and intensity to the environmental conditions. Temperature and humidity combine to create conditions that can produce heat illness and dehydration.
An air temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit is high risk regardless of the humidity.
An air temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of 60 percent or above.
An air temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity of 90 percent or above.

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Wednesday 08 May 2013
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Positive Coaching Alliance

Category - UCYFL | Author - webmaster | Wednesday 08 May 2013 - 09:50:19

Our Mission Positive Coaching Alliance is a national non-profit developing “Better Athletes, Better People” by working to provide all youth and high school athletes a positive, character-building youth sports experience. Learn more in this short video.

One of the great life lessons in sports is that what gets rewarded gets done. That also applies in business, community building or any other team endeavor.

In this spirit, PCA annually honors outstanding coaches, high school athletes and others who bring about a positive, character-building youth sports environment. Because when others see a Double-Goal Coach® or Triple-Impact Competitor® rewarded, they more likely will emulate the honorees' examples.

And the more people pursue the ideals of the Double-Goal Coach or Triple-Impact Competitor, the more youth benefit.

In the process of identifying winners for our awards programs -- as well as the outstanding student-athletes who serve on our National Student Athlete Advisory Board -- we learn from some of the best hearts and minds around. These insights find their way into our workshops, online courses and other products and services.

Even as we honor great coaches and student-athletes, they honor the PCA Movement through their work and participation in our programs.


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Tuesday 19 March 2013
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The Guardian Cap

Category - UCYFL | Author - webmaster | Tuesday 19 March 2013 - 04:45:07

“It is my belief that our ultimate job as educators is to protect our kids with every resource at our disposal and if the Guardian can help us do that while they are playing football for our youth leagues, our middle schools, and Sweeny High School, then we are going to utilize it.” – Brett Sawyer, athletic director and head football coach, Sweeny HS TX

The Guardian Cap is a product on the forefront of football safety. How often have you opened your paper and been faced with an article about football injuries, especially head injuries?The Guardian Cap is a product of a company that has long been aware of this problem and has been working to reduce the impact of hits.  The Guardian is a giant step forward in the effectiveness of sports equipment.  No helmet or practice apparatus can reduce or prevent head injuries.  The Guardian can reduce the impact the head takes in a hit up to 33%.Why should YOU be interested in the Guardian cap?  Consider this:

  • Scientifically designed to reduce impact.
  • Applies the principles of physics to design.
  • Scientific commentary supports use.
  • Statistics support effectiveness.
Learn about the product that was worn by over 8,000 players in 2012, has received incredible testimonials and is permitted for high school practice and game use by the NFHS.


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Friday 11 January 2013
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Experts warn against

Category - Misc | Author - webmaster | Friday 11 January 2013 - 10:58:51

wrote ...
By Joe Frollo Wed, 08/01/2012 - 4:06pm
Athletes often look for a quick boost to gain an edge.
Some – including youth players whose bodies can’t handle the elevated levels of caffeine – are turning to caffeinated energy drinks to provide a burst prior to practices and games.
This is a short-sighted and sometimes dangerous approach, said St. Vincent Sports Performance sports dietician Lindsay Langford. A proper diet and adequate hydration provide young athletes all the energy they need.
Caffeinated energy drinks increase heart rate and can lead to an irregular heartbeat, Langford said. Minors often have difficulty seeing the warning signs or can become more easily addicted to the effects. That’s why she doesn’t recommend caffeinated drinks to anyone under age 18.“
Kids on caffeinated drinks get so amped up, they can’t focus on the game,” Langford said. “They just wind up with a nervous, jittery body.
”The proper approach, according to Langford, is drinking water beforehand, using sports drinks that restore carbohydrates and electrolytes during activity and replacing nutrients afterward with chocolate milk or a healthy meal.“
If you are properly fueled going into the event, sports drinks are all you need to replace what you lose and keep energy levels up,” she said. “After the game is when it is important to recover any lost protein.”
As president of the Heartland Football League, an 800-player organization in Omaha, Neb., John Manna meets each preseason with club members about safety precautions. He discusses concussion awareness, proper hydration, inclement weather measures and the dangers of kids ingesting caffeine.“We have a lot of different programs and emergency procedures,” Manna said. “Dealing with an over-caffeinated player is one of them. We encourage families not to let their kids drink that stuff. 
We have had instances where kids are throwing up on the field. Thankfully, we haven’t had anything more serious than that.”Players in the Heartland Football League are immediately removed from games or practices if they show signs of being over-caffeinated. Some of those signs are similar to concussion symptoms – including inability to concentrate and nausea.
Manna reinforces good eating habits and better choices for pregame drinks. Some kids, though, succumb to peer pressure or copying what they see at school and on TV. For others, it’s become a habit reinforced by past actions.“
Some kids eat the same meal or go to the same restaurant the night before a game if they think they play well because of it,” Manna said. “Some kids have said they take the energy drinks because they had a good practice or a good game one time, so they keep doing it. What about the other times when they felt sick? Why not stop doing it because your body is telling you that?”
Michael Koenig is president of the Omaha (Neb.) Storm, a club with 250 players. People have told him about flag players in the league as young as 6 who take caffeinated energy drinks.“
We strongly discourage this, and we let the parents know that they are not giving their kids any advantage,” Koenig said. “Drinking that stuff at such a young age can be detrimental to a kid’s health. The jitters it produces are more of a detriment to the player than anything they would get out of it.”
Studies have shown that adults in certain situations can see enhanced performance, according to JohnEric Smith, an associate principle scientist with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
Those same studies, including one by the American College of Sports Medicine, found that individuals who ingest caffeinated energy drinks more often suffer mistakes because of over-arousal, an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and a disrupted sleep cycle.
Another study by the American Academy of Pediatrics warns about increased anxiety and arrhythmias as a result of children who take caffeinated energy drinks. Overuse can lead to caffeine toxicity, and doses of 200 to 400 milligrams can be lethal.
Caffeine can also affect a child’s developing neurological and cardiovascular systems. Most health experts do not recommend caffeinated drinks for children under 18.“
Ingestion rates high enough to elicit performance benefits can also lead to increased anxiety, jitteriness, lightheadedness and decrements in performance,” Smith said.
Carbohydrates and fat are the primary fuels for the human body, Smith said, with carbohydrates the dominant energy provider during short-term exercise. Replenishing carbohydrates during exercise is the best way to maintain performance.“
While caffeinated energy drinks and products may seem like a quick fix to fatigue, they are in fact a short-term facade hiding the body’s needs,” Smith said. “Proper nutrition, training, sleep and recovery habits are key for athletes to avoid fatigue and perform at their best.”
The first goal is to convince parents of the dangers, Koenig said. Leagues can outlaw the drinks at practice and game fields, but players are consuming them at home and during car rides.“
The last thing we want to do is find out a kid has a heart condition and has a reaction from drinking too much caffeine,” Koenig said.

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Helmet Fitting

Category - UCYFL | Author - webmaster | Friday 11 January 2013 - 03:26:41

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Shoulder Pad Fitting

Category - UCYFL | Author - webmaster | Friday 11 January 2013 - 03:23:36

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