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Medicina dello Sport 2013 September;66(3):363-74


language: English, Italian

Effects of hydration strategies on competitive squash performance

Fritz S., Toriola A. L., Neveling N.

Department of Sport, Rehabilitation and Dental Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa


Aim: Squash racket is a high intensity sport, which places considerable demand on the body’s energy system. There is currently little information in the literature concerning the effects of squash racket on hydration status and performance. The objectives of this study were to determine if squash players do dehydrate during competitive squash-play and evaluate the effect of fluid loss on their performance.
Methods: Thirteen elite male squash players (aged 23.8±3.26 years) volunteered to participate in the study. Following a VO2max test and fat percentage measurements, subjects completed two further sessions on a squash court on separate days in which measurements of body weight, bioelectrical impedance analysis, hematocrit, and hemoglobin were undertaken and a squash specific movement test (ghosting test) was performed before and after match-play. The same protocol was used during sessions A (no fluid consumption) and B (fluid consumption). During session B, the subjects consumed a total of 400 mL tap water (200 mL after game 1 and 200 mL after game 2).
Results: The findings of the study suggest that the squash players’ body weight decreased during both session A (74.78 kg to 73.78 kg) and session B (74.66 kg to 73.93 kg). Both sessions A and B recorded significant changes when the pre- and post-match body weights were compared. The largest fluid loss during the study was 1.33% during session A (no fluid consumption). Osmolality increased during both session A (291.53 to 296.46 mOsm.kg-1) and session B (295.69 to 298.15 mOsm.kg-1) but a significant difference was only recorded during session A (without fluid consuming). Significant changes in intracellular and extracellular water content were recorded (P<0.05). There was an improvement during sessions A and B when comparing pre- and post-match results for the squash-specific movement test.
Conclusion: Whilst significant alterations in a number of hydration markers were observed, the results of the study support the notion that squash racket players should drink water during competitive games lasting 30 minutes or longer, if the player started the match fully hydrated. Further research is necessary to confirm the present findings.

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