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How to survive hot weather at training

“With training and tournaments scheduled for the hot summer weather, how can I protect my players from overheating before it’s too late?”

Answer

The last few days in the UK have seen some unbearably hot weather making training and tournaments great for the spectator but hard going for the youngsters.

There are two key problems that emerge when it comes to young kids and sport. For starters, most will run around without any energy conservation – the concept of pacing themselves is completely alien to eight-year-olds.

This means kids will give close to 100% for a period and then burn out quickly. That’s countered with the fact kids rarely appreciate the importance of taking on fluids.

Each year during the hot summer weather, the effects of heat-induced illness are seen, from exhaustion, dehydration, heat cramps and heat stroke, through to common physical injuries being caused by tiredness.

As coaches, we have a huge responsibility to ensure that our players are well hydrated at all times – after all, we’ll get more out of them and will speed up their development if they are fed and watered properly at all times. There are a few very simple steps you can follow to avoid your players overheating.

Firstly, if it’s a blazingly hot day, postpone training – it’s just not worth the effort or the risk. If training is on, build in as many drinks breaks as possible. Use the time to recap what players have learnt, but insist everyone drinks.

Also get kids to shed all unnecessary clothing, and use low tempo drills and practices. Get kids to judge their own levels of hydration by asking them to observe the colour of their urine. Lemonade colour is good, apple juice colour is bad.

And finally, remember that kids can deteriorate very quickly when dehydrated, so whenever you spot a child potentially in trouble, withdraw them immediately.

For more great advice like this, you can subscribe to Soccer Coach Weekly for as little as £10 a month and get exclusive access to my personal inbox through the Ask Dave service.

Try this simple dribbling session when it is too hot and players need plenty of down time.

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