The purpose of the present study was to develop a hydration strategy for use by female English field hockey players at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. An additional aim was to initiate the process of acclimation. Fifteen elite players, mean age (±SEM) 24.1 ± 1.19 years, height 1.67 ± 0.01 m, and body mass 62.8 ± 1.76 kg, took part in a 5-day training camp immediately prior to departure for the Games. In order to develop the hydration strategy, training took place under similar environmental conditions to those to be experienced in Malaysia (i.e., 32 °C, 80% humidity). Acclimation training consisted of 30–50 min of either continuous, low intensity cycling or high intensity intermittent cycling, which more closely replicated the pattern of activity in field hockey. Body mass measures taken each morning, and pre and post training, together with urine color measures, were used to assess hydration status. Pre-loading with up to 1 L of a 3% carbohydrate-electrolyte solution or water immediately prior to acclimation training, as well as regular drinks throughout, ensured that players avoided significant dehydration, with percent body mass changes ranging from −0.34% to +4.24% post training. Furthermore, the protocol used was sufficient to initiate the process of acclimation as demonstrated by a significant reduction in exercising heart rate and core temperature at all time points by days 4 and 5. In conclusion, although labor intensive and time consuming, the camp was successful in developing a hydration strategy that players were able to utilize once at the Games.
J.A. Dabinett is with the School of Sport, Exercise and Leisure at the University of Surrey Roehampton, West Hill, London, SW15 3SN UK. K. Reid is with the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, SA2 8PP UK. N. James is with the School of Sports Science at the University of Wales Swansen.