6 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Fall Sportsby Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer
Back to school means back on the field for many students who play sports. These tips will help keep your kid in shape for when they resume their practice schedule.
Consider hiring a personal trainer
After a lazy summer, a personal trainer can be a great resource to help ease your child into a more intense physical regimen. A personal trainer can also spend enough one-on-one time with your child to teach and tailor a specific workout to his or her body, thereby preventing injuries when he or she returns to the field.
Begin the routine for early preparation
Bodies work differently at different times of the day. If your child will be practicing in the early morning, encourage them to get up early and see what will be needed for peak performance. Conversely, if they will be practicing in full pads in the middle of the day, make sure that they are training in at least some heat in order to prepare.
Know your state regulations
Each state has rules and regulations governing school sports’ practices. These rules were developed with the help of medical personnel who are familiar with your state and its environmental conditions. This includes how many hours of practice are safe and how many breaks are required between practice. While most coaches know and follow these rules, it is a good idea as a parent to be aware they exist.
Get baseline testing done for contact sports
The CDC estimates 135,000 children are treated for sports-related brain injuries each year. Most of these injuries are concussions. Proper education on the signs, symptoms and prevention of concussions is extremely important. Make sure your child has a baseline test done to assess balance and brain function prior to the first practice. Some schools offer these tests at no cost before practice begins.
Have your child drink water ahead of time
Each year school athletes experience serious injury and even death as a result of heat-related illness. Many of these injuries are preventable through proper hydration. It is important that your child is well hydrated before he or she goes out the door to practice. Be certain your child is drinking plenty of fluids. The goal of pre-hydration is to begin practice hydrated and with normal electrolyte levels.
Always be supportive
Fall sports’ practice can be very tricky for children, especially when some make the team and others don’t. Tell your children about the lessons sports teach us about life and ourselves. Remind them that even if they do not make the team, they had a great experience, learned about hard work, and can always try again next year. Let them know how proud you are of their efforts.