Tennis players offer advice on keeping cool, staying hydrated

sports@macon.comJune 18, 2014 

Living in Georgia and playing summer sports means dealing with the heat.

Georgia residents aren’t the only ones who need to learn to deal with rising temperatures. Athletes coming to Georgia to compete, like the ones who are still in the USTA Southern 14s Championships, must know how to keep cool.

“Drink water, drink water, drink water,” Bibb County tennis manager Carl Hodge said. “Even if you aren’t thirsty drink water.”

Macon resident Mark Barrow agrees.

“I start drinking water a week before the tournament,” he said. “I don’t want to lose or retire from a match because I’m dehydrated.”

Water isn’t the only thing an athlete’s body needs. When athletes sweat, they lose nutrients like potassium.

Mooresvile, North Carolina, player Max Vicario, who is ranked 18th in the South in Boys 14s, drinks electrolyte water. Vicario will be playing in the semifinals Thursday and is prepared for the forecasted high of 97 degrees.

“I’m ready for (Thursday); I’ll have water, SmartWater and Gatorade on court,” he said.

He’ll also pack an electrolyte gel pack just in case.

Ella Suk of Macon likes to use a Frogg Togg or Chilly Pad to help stay cool. A chilly pad is made of super evaporative material that holds water but remains dry to the touch. Players like Suk like to keep their chilly pads in a mini-cooler of ice water that they carry on court . During changeovers, the pad can be wrung out and placed on the face, neck, etc., to help cool the body down.

“I also bring a (regular) hand towel to wipe off sweat during points and changeovers,” Ella said.

Once players have made it through their match -- or game, depending on the sport -- getting cooled down for the next round of competition is paramount. Erick Suk, who is ranked eighth in the state and 23rd in the South for Boys 10s, likes to take a minute after leaving the court to cool down.

“After a match, I leave the court, sit down, take off my socks and shoes and put on my Crocs even before I go report my score.” Suk said.

Barrow gets out of the sun as soon as he can.

“I find air conditioning,” he said. “I want to cool down fast.”

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