For soccer players, staying well-hydrated throughout a game is a necessity. Becoming dehydrated translates into decreased speed, poor passing and shooting, and a decrease in ability to focus. Sweat loss can also contribute to muscle cramping, which can be devastating during a game.
With the hopes of a nation resting on its shoulders, the Brazilian National Team isn’t leaving anything to chance when it comes to optimizing their performance at the 2014 World Cup. In order to make sure its players are in peak condition, the team has turned hydration into an exact science through the use of a smart, connected waterbottle.
The Gatorade Smart Bottle, created in partnership with innovation consultant Smart Design, contains a microchip with WiFi connectivity in the lid that monitors how much each player drinks during a game or practice. Coaches and trainers can then access this real-time data through a hydration monitoring app and individualize the hydration needs of each player.
The Smart Bottle and app allows coaches to keep an eye on the fluid loss and intake of each individual player, and provides fluid, fuel, and electrolyte replacement recommendations for them as well. All of this information is kept in a log so that a player’s hydration habits, as well as performance, can be tracked over a period of time.
“This [being hydrated] may be a difference maker in an overtime game when you have to draw energy from the bottom of your soul,” says David Luiz, a defender on the Brazilian national team.
“One of the aims of this project is to individualize the hydration needs of the players so we can plan the amount of carbohydrates that he needs during a match or even after to speed up his recovery,” says Orlando Laitano, PhD, a consultant at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
To achieve this, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute studied the Brazilian National Team for two years to determine what the optimal mix of Gatorade formula would be for each soccer player, as well as how much each player should drink in order to be able to safety push themselves to their limits for a 90 minute game.
The players now each have their own individualized pods of specific Gatorade concentrate that can be slipped into the base of the bottle and is plugged into the system. Add water, give a quick shake, and the system is ready to go. The technology takes the guess-work out of knowing how much a player should drink in order to remain safely hydrated during the World Cup games.
The team, which throughout history has always been at the forefront of innovation in soccer, is confident that this new technologically will bring them success.
“When science provides the player with the ability to sustain his performance throughout 90 minutes” says Carlos Alberto Parreira, technical director for the Brazilian National Team, “they always have the advantage.”
Brazil has not hosted the World Cup since the 1950’s, when they had a heart-breaking loss to Uruguay, and it’s hungry for a win on home-turf. The team is hoping that this will be the year it brings Brazil its sixth World Cup title.
“We have this obligation to win and re-write history,” Parreira says.
Image courtesy of Gatorade