Heat Preparedness and Hydration

Help your athletes perform better and safer during the heat.

Environment, equipment and intensity can place athletes at risk of heat illness. Heat illnesses represent conditions resulting from heat stress, which can be imposed by several factors but usually result from the environment or the body creating the heat load itself.

Heat illnesses can range from minor to severe, and exertional heat stroke is considered a life-threatening emergency. As recommended by the Korey Stringer Institute. Check out the resources below to help your players beat the heat.


Getting used to playing in the heat is important as practices start to ramp up. Help your athletes acclimatize to the heat by using the guides below.


A crucial part of managing the heat is making sure your players are staying hydrated. By knowing what fluids are best for staying hydrated and when to drink them, you can help prevent heat illness.

Fluids for Hydration

Sports drinks containing electrolytes, sugar and water help give athletes important nutrients while exercising.

While water is always appropriate during all types of exercise, sports drinks are recommended for use during intense exercise that is greater than 60 minutes or during intense exercise in the heat.

Learn more about USA Football partner Gatorade and how they can help your players stay hydrated.


Before Exercise

Hydrate with 16-24 ounces of water or a sports drink.

During Exercise

Have unlimited access to water available to players during exercise/activity.

Allow your athletes to drink as much as they want.

Athletes should be able to drink for the entire break period if they wish.

Provide access to sports drinks when exercise is greater than 60 minutes or if exercise is going to be intense and in the heat.

Keep in Mind

  • It is recommended that all exercise sessions should have predetermined breaks every 15 minutes.
  • The timing and length of breaks should depend on environmental conditions.
  • While athletes may be encouraged or even required to bring their own fluids, make sure extra fluids are available for those that have forgotten or need a refill.


Recognize the signs of dehydration...

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue/Exhaustion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Poor Concentration
  • Loss of Muscle Coordination
  • Decreased Performance


Recognize the signs and causes of heat illness.

From heat syncope, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and exertional heat stroke (EHS), become familiar with the common forms of heat illness, their symptoms and how to treat them.

Download this helpful resource and keep it posted in your locker room.

Coming Soon


Help prevent the occurrence of various exertional heat illnesses.

Have athletes undergo a period of heat acclimatization

Encourage athletes to arrive at practice hydrated

Allow athletes unlimited access to hydration

Modify practice when environmental conditions become extreme

Don’t forget to allow additional rest and hydration breaks. Also, reduce the intensity of practice, time of practice and equipment worn.

Practice at an intensity that is appropriate for the fitness level

Encourage athletes to speak up when not feeling well – create a culture where this is considered smart