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Sports Drinks and Our Kids

By Coach Jami "JJ" James, 03/22/18, 6:30PM MDT



It is imperative that we keep our young kids, players and athletes hydrated, especially during the summer months. As an athletic trainer and hockey coach, this is a constant focus that I always consider when working with young athletes. In addition to proper nutrition, we can keep our kids healthy and happy by being intuned.

Kids that go, go, go need to have great hydration habits to prevent heat stroke -- bottom line. It is a fact that kids who play sports are likely to sweat a lot and need electrolytes found in tried-and-true sports hydration drinks.

Fruity drinks or soft drinks do not prevent dehydration or heat-related illnesses.

As an athletic trainer, coach and father of active kids, I know there's a lot of misinformation out there.  I get bombarded with all kinds of questions from players and parents about what drinks are best for kids when playing sports.

We as parents and coaches need to understand that all beverages are not created equal when it comes to hydrating our youth during an athletic event. 

We have outlined the ideal formulation for beverages for active kids. Based on these criteria, beverages for active kids fall into three categories:

  1. Good Move -- Sports drinks continue to qualify as research has shown their light flavor and sodium encourage kids to drink up to 90% more than plain water to stay better hydrated.

  2. OK (if it's the only drink available) -- Consuming water is placed in this category because it's a good thirst quencher, but research shows kids find it challenging to drink enough. And water doesn't replace the electrolytes kids lose through sweat.

  3. Short Commings -- Fruit juices, fruit drinks, and soft drinks don't have the electrolytes and contain way too much sugar -- which can upset the stomach and slow a child down.



There are several products that just add "sport" to their name -- or better yet, show a sports scene on their label. These are not real sports drinks. Don't be fooled just because the words 'energy' or 'electrolytes' appear on the package. It doesn't mean the beverage is truly supplying the right amounts or types of these ingredients.



The recommended beverage contents for active kids during sports and activities should contain at least 100 mg of sodium and at least 28 mg of potassium per 8 ounces and should be noncarbonated.



Hydration is a big deal at NA Prep and it can be costly to keep our kids going when heat deprivation is creeping in. That is one of the reasons we offer hydration drinks to our campers throughout the summer. Parents can purchase our bundled packages that include our top of the line hydration drinks.


Hydration is key in the physical and mental aspect of the game, so stay hydrated and stay in the zone.