4 Ways Dehydration Affects Your Game

Have you ever noticed that as much as you love playing tennis, there are days when you just can't seem to motivate yourself to go to the courts and practice? Even if you get there, you lack the motivation to practice hard. 

Workout motivation—or rather un-motivation—is directly linked to dehydration. 

Dehydration and Tennis Performance

A normal day of activity can cause a mild (1 percent to 2 percent) or moderate (2 percent to 5 percent) dehydration. We often don't start feeling thirsty until we have lost 1 percent to 2 percent of our body water. Which means that the majority of people walk around mildly dehydrated all day long.

More: Hydration Dos and Don'ts for Tennis Players

A 2 percent loss of body water can result in a 20 performance decline in performance, when it comes to athletic indicators like power, strength and speed, studies have found. This sounds like a significant performance loss, but it's even worse that you might think because dehydration also has a significant impact on the athlete's cognitive performance.

4 Ways Dehydration Affects Your Game

Motor skills

Motor skills are important for tennis players and all athletes. An interesting study of cricket players showed that at 2.8 percent of dehydration, the speed of their deliveries remained the same. However, the length of their bowls and the accuracy of the line was reduced by 15 percent. 

More: How to Measure Your Sweat Loss

Another study of golfers found that at 2 percent or more of body water loss, their shot accuracy degraded from an average 12.3 feet (4.1 meters) from the intended target to 23.7 feet (7.9 meters). The shot distance decreased from an average of 386 feet (128.6 meters) to 343 feet (114.4 meters).  

In tennis, you need similar motor skills. Keep yourself hydrated not to lose them. 


When testing the ability to pay attention, the studies concluded that 1 percent to 2 percent dehydration doesn't cause much of a drop in performance. Dehydration beyond 2 percent causes the attention performance to drop rapidly. You can't focus on the ball or your strategy. Stay hydrated, you will remain sharp through the entire match.

More15 Hydration Facts for Athletes 

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About the Author

Suzanna McGee

A former Ms. Natural Olympia Bodybuilding champion, Suzanna is currently performance coach, injury prevention specialist, plant-based nutrition coach, author, speaker and raw vegan athlete. Suzanna loves to help others by sharing her knowledge? at

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