Macleod, H., & Sunderland, C. (2009). Effect of hypohydration and intermittent running in the heat on field hockey skill performance. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, Presentation Number 2668.

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"The development of hyperthermia during intermittent running in the heat results in a decline in skill performance. If players begin a match in a state of hypohydration, the thermoregulatory system is stressed further. However, there is limited research into the influence of hypohydration on skill performance during sports that are multifaceted in their demands, such as field hockey."

This study determined the influence of moderate hypohydration on field hockey skills performance following simulated field hockey exercise in the heat. Elite female field hockey players (N = 7) completed two 70-minute field hockey-specific intermittent treadmill running trials, separated by ~7 days. The evening preceding each trial, Ss performed baseline skills tests before dehydrating via passive hyperthermia to elicit 2% dehydration. Ss then either immediately rehydrated or remained dehydrated. The next morning, Ss completed skills tests pre- and post-performing the hockey-specific treadmill exercise in the heat (33C, 60% rh). Hydration status was maintained with ad libitum water intake. Heart rate, rectal temperature, rating of perceived exertion, and thirst sensation were measured during exercise. Total Time, Decision Time, and Penalty Time were recorded during the skills test.

Penalty time was higher post-exercise in the dehydrated trial. Total time and decision time were slower post-exercise, with no difference between trials. Decision time was faster in the rehydrated trial compared to the dehydrated trial. There was a significant difference in body mass loss between trials at the start and end of the exercise with the dehydrated state being greater at both times. Rectal temperature increased over time with a concomitant increase in heart rate in the second half of the exercise, with no difference between trials. No difference in rating of perceived exertion or thirst sensation was evident.

Implication. Mild hypohydration increases decision time and error rate without any detrimental effects in physiological parameters. Field hockey-specific intermittent running in the heat decreases skill performance, which may be linked to increased thermoregulatory strain.

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