If you are a parent to a young athlete, you are doing your best this summer to keep your kid active and engaged through this time of widespread sports cancellations. Even with the current uncertainty around the future of youth sports in 2020, the National Council of Youth Sports is still celebrating National Youth Sports Week on July 20-24 with a special virtual session on July 22 known as “Hill Day” (NCYS). In honor of this special day for youth sports, we want to help you prepare for the eventual return to sports with three tips to help your child/children stay active and ready to get back on the field or court.
Encourage Daily Activity
Even with formal practice and games postponed, your young athlete should maintain an active lifestyle so their body is prepared to return to the rigorous schedule of their sport. Their daily activity does not need to be related to their sport; in fact, we recommend that you limit their sports practice to three days per week to prevent overuse injury. Fill in the other days with strength and endurance training so that your athlete is not continuously using the same muscle group: “…it’s important for athletes to change the sports or activities they are doing so they are not continuously putting stress on the same muscles and joints…” (Johns Hopkins Medicine). A diverse training schedule will also help your child achieve better performance overall in their sport(s).
Focus on the “Small Stuff”
Becoming a great athlete at any age involves more than strength training and practice. It’s also important to focus on the small stuff like nutrition, hydration, and flexibility. This time off from sports offers you as parents a great opportunity to help your young athlete work on these three things by encouraging them to adopt healthy stretching and warm-up habits, and talking to them about the importance of eating a balanced diet and maintaining hydration throughout the day.
Get a Physical
Before your child jumps back into their sport when they start back up, it would be wise to schedule a sports physical with your family physician. “Sports physicals help assess any areas of concern for athletes before they start an activity, and in turn keeps them from further injuring themselves during play if a condition is present and needs to be treated…” (Johns Hopkins Medicine). It’s especially important to schedule a physical this year after so much time away from sports so you can be sure that your young athlete will not injure themself shortly after returning to practice.
If you are concerned that your child athlete might be suffering from an overuse injury, our team of caring and experienced Physical Therapists can help them properly recover and be fully prepared to return to the sport they love as soon as possible! Request an appointment today to get started with their personalized recovery plan.