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By Theophilus Mensah

In basketball maintaining adequate hydration before, during, and after practices and games is very important. Dehydration can happen to a player before he/she realizes the effects. Symptoms such as thirst, fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps are often felt after it's too late.
One way to monitor hydration levels and prevent poor performance from dehydration is to check the color of your urine. Light-colored, clear, odorless urine throughout the day means a player is probably well hydrated. Strong, dark urine may suggest dehydration and indicate that players should begin drinking water and sports drinks until well hydrated. Fluid losses of only 1-2% of body weight can negatively effect performance and cause dehydration. Many athletes can easily lose this much fluid in an hour of exercise. Since research shows that most athletes do not fully rehydrate during practices and games and many show up to the court already dehydrated, steps should be taken to help prevent these detrimental effects.
Coaches and players should learn the importance of proper hydration and incorporate hydration strategies into every practice and game situation. This will help "train" players to drink enough. Many players may find it difficult to ingest the recommended fluid volumes, so it is important for players to know that they must train their bodies to drink adequate amounts. Coaches and team parents can further support these efforts by making sure each player has his/her own individual bottle for water or sports drinks for both practices and games.

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