The hot summer months can impact your team’s commitment and performance. While it is important they work up a sweat during a practice or game, it should not come at the cost of their health and happiness when playing on the field or running on a race track.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can lower your players’ temperature to support their performance and dedication to an activity. Find out how your sports team can stay cool during summer.
Every team member should have access to plenty of cold water before, during and after a sporting activity. Regardless of whether they are training, playing a big game or participating in a 5K race, you must keep a cooler of water nearby, which can help them to prevent dehydration and quench their thirst during the intense summer sun. You also could encourage your team to drink more water by providing them with BPA free water bottles.
If you want to boost their energy levels and restore their electrolytes, keep chilled sports drinks to hand, which can aid their performance and help them to quickly recover from physical activity in the summer heat. Plus, the delicious flavors can encourage more drinking and the sodium will help their bodies to hold onto essential fluid, which can counteract sweat loss.
Boost Comfort with Custom Team Shirts
Custom t-shirts cannot only boost team spirit and make your players feel more connected to a club, but it will also improve their comfort each day. All you must do is invest in custom team shirts that are lightweight, which can eradicate moisture and make the hot season feel much more bearable. The t-shirts will also provide your team with a sense of identity, as it can feature the team’s name, logo or color scheme.
While black might be sleek and stylish, the color is an insulator and will absorb heat at a faster rate in comparison to lighter colors. To prevent your team from struggling with sweat, discomfort or heat stroke, you should ensure you provide your players with brighter colors when creating custom athletic apparel, such as:
- Baby blue
Create Shaded Areas on the Field
Every team member will need a space they can go to cool off from the sweltering sun. If a field or track regularly welcomes much sunshine, you must create shaded areas to help your players feel more comfortable during the hottest season.
For example, you could provide an umbrella or build a shelter, which they can return to when they can no longer handle the strong sunrays. It is the perfect place for them to grab a bottle of water, warm down and mentally prepare themselves for the rest of training or an upcoming game. Plus, the shaded spots will also be ideal during winter, as it will provide a warm, dry spot to escape the cold or rainy elements.
Provide High-Quality Baseball Hats
If you are running a baseball, t-ball or softball team, you can guarantee your players will expect to receive a high-quality baseball hat, which can effectively keep the sun’s glare from their eyes during a game or training. The custom athletic apparel is not only ideal for baseball teams, but it can also help runners, soccer stars and football players to cool down before or after a big summer game.
Stock Up on Summer Friendly Snacks
You can guarantee your team will feel a hunger pang or experience thirst after a training session or competitive game. Refuel their body, boost their energy levels and prevent dehydration by stocking up on summer friendly snacks, such as fruit juice popsicles that feature minimal sugar or fruits filled with water and vitamins, such as oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon. It will provide their body with natural sugars and can help them to cool off from the summer heat.
Encourage the Use of Sunscreen
While sunscreen will not help your talented team to remain cool during summer, it can prevent them from experiencing sunburn or heatstroke, which could impact their health and sporting performance. To ensure your team aren’t struggling during summer, state that every player must wear a high-protection sunscreen when the sun reaches a high.
The activities you undertake and the food you consume before physically activity can significantly affect a performance on a field or track. For example, if a player takes a hot shower or consumes hot food before training or a game, they will quickly increase their core temperature, so they will feel hotter before an activity.
In addition to providing them with custom performance shirts, you can help your team to remain cool and comfortable by requesting they find ways to cool down before an activity, such as taking a cold shower, drinking ice cold water or enjoying a sandwich over a hot meal. It will make their body more capable of absorbing heat, so they can focus their attention on achieving the team’s goals over struggling with unwanted sweat and discomfort.
Tell Team Members to Take a Break
Many players might be tempted to push their body harder during summer, as they will not want to let their team down. While you will want your team to roar to victory, it should not come at the cost of an individual’s health or happiness.
It is, therefore, imperative to encourage your team members to take a break when they are overheating, and state there will be no repercussions if they need to grab a bottle of water or sit in a shaded area during training. It can prevent them from fainting from dehydration or heat exhaustion, so they can remain in the best physical health to reach your goals.
Look for Signs of Heat Exhaustion
While you might do everything in your power to prevent your team from overheating, such as providing ice cold water and athletic fit t shirts, you also must aim to spot the signs of heat exhaustion in your players, such as:
- Excessive thirst
- Muscle cramps or aches
- Clammy skin
- A slow heartbeat
If you believe a player might be suffering with heat exhaustion, they must take a break in a shaded area, drink plenty of fluids and receive immediate medical attention.
Rotate Players to Give Everyone a Break
If the weather reaches higher than 100 degrees, you must ensure you provide every player with plenty of breaks to help them to relax and cool down. It might be wise to rotate players during training, so you can continue with a session while protecting everyone’s health.
Don’t forget to pay extra attention to the wellbeing of catchers, who might need to wear both padding and layers during gameplay, as they will be at greater risk of heat exhaustion.
Rather than forcing your team to endure the summer sun, you should hand out gel ice packs to players when an opportunity arises. By pressing them against their neck, wrists or an area close to their surface veins, they can quickly and easily lower their body temperature. It is an effective way to help every player reach their potential during a hot summer.
Tell Baseball Players to Remove Caps in the Dugout
If you are coaching a baseball team, you should encourage all players to remove their caps once they enter the dugout. By doing so, they can release the trapped heat from the top of their heads, which can help them to decrease their temperature and remove unpleasant sweat from their hair.
Install Air Conditioning in Locker Rooms
Air conditioning can help your team members to cool off before and after a difficult game or a tiring training session. If you want to lower your team’s core body temperature prior to a game or race, air conditioning can help them to do exactly that, as they change into the best running shirts or comfortably pile on pads and layers. Plus, it will provide them with some light relief after securing a team victory in the sunshine.
Whenever a player is struggling in the sun, you should hand out a cooling towel to help them feel like their old selves. For it to work, you will need to place a cooling towel in cold water before draping it over various parts of their body, such as the neck or head. It will provide your team with an instant cooling sensation, so they will be ready and raring to return to a field or race track to support the rest of their team.
Change Practice Times to Avoid the Sun’s UV Rays
As the sun’s UV rays will be at the strongest point between 10am to 4pm, it is a wise idea to avoid this period during training. Allow your team to practice in a cooler environment by training or working out early in the morning and later in the day, which will provide them with more time to rest, recover and cool down after a session.
Decrease the Practice Pace
If temperatures are starting to rise and you are concerned about pushing your team too hard during summer, it might be a smart idea to reduce the practice pace and the duration, which is a must-do if you are coaching a youth sports team.
You also should add more rest breaks into a training session, so everyone has an opportunity to enjoy some shade, replenish their fluids and enjoy a healthy, cold snack to refuel their energy. Another option is to take a practice indoors, so your team can build on their strengths and iron out their weaknesses in an air-conditioned space.
Be Aware of Heat Acclimation
Intense heat has the potential to overwhelm even the finest of athletes who are well-hydrated. While training in an air conditioned room can help to keep your team cool, it can make the summer sun much more intense when playing outdoors for the first time. So, if you know your team will be playing or racing on the hottest day of the year, it might be beneficial to gradually introduce heat into practice sessions.
If your team needs to wear helmets, shoulder pads, a jersey and other layers for a big game, it might be wise to introduce the clothing in stages. At the start of the season, they should train in their custom team shirts before training in the essential clothing a few sessions before a competitive match.
Don’t Allow Pride to Take Over
Sports teams are filled with ambitious, competitive individuals, who will do everything in their power to stand out from the crowd. As a result, they might be eager to push through the heat to score a goal, hit a homerun or beat their track record. However, you shouldn’t allow their pride to rule common sense. So, if they seem confused, sweaty or tired, you must instruct them to take a break or remove them from a practice or game.
Start Off Slow
It is imperative to start training off at a slow pace to build up your team’s endurance and help them to acclimatize to the heat. Push them a little harder each session to help them reach their potential, but continue to look for the warning signs to spot dehydration, heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
The summer sun doesn’t need to impact your team’s health and performance. As you can see, there are various ways you can help them to successfully cool down during a summer practice or game, which will ensure they feel comfortable, confident and energetic from start to finish.
So, invest in athletic fit t shirts, stock up on water and summer friendly snacks, provide gel ice packs, baseball caps and sunscreen, and aim to spot the signs of a heat-related illness to ensure they remain in tip-top condition.