Preparing youth basketball players for practice and basketball games can be the difference between whether your athlete performs well on the court or not. With my own eyes, I have witnessed many youth basketball players become easily exhasted, lethargic, physically weaker on the basketball court, and even become short tempered. Many coaches and parents assume that the basketball player might become fatigued due to a lack of conditioning. While that theory can be true, multiple factors exist for fatigued youth basketball players that parents and coaches can easily control.

One major factor involves dehydration. Dehydration occurs when a you lose more water through energy exertion and sweat than you consume.

The solution? Consume water before exercise!

One of the most common mistakes youth athletes make involve not coming to basketball practice or games hydrated. Many youth basketball players drink a lot of liquid throughout practice and throughout a basketball game. However, it’s already too late to consume liquid if they do not come into an exercise activity hydrated. Before an athlete can consume water throughout a practice or a game, they already have lost a lot of water from their body without possessing the capability of replacing them since they did not consume beforehand.

So when and how much water should an athlete consume before exercise? According to Renee Melton, MS, RD, LD, director of nutrition for Sensei, a developer of online and mobile weight loss and nutrition programs, an athlete should consume approximately 15 oz-20 oz. of water 1-2 hour before exercise, and 8-10 oz. of water 15 minutes before exercise. Obviously, those numbers can vary depending on how much water you lose.

Therefore, if you question how your kids can improve performance on the basketball court, the simple solution might be something as small as consuming water and staying hydrated before they enter the basketball court.