How to Help Your Kids Succeed in Sports
As parents, we all want our kids to succeed in sports. But, did you know that the key to their success lies in keeping things simple? Focusing on the basics can make the biggest difference.
Here are some tips to help your kids succeed in sports:
- Make sure they are getting enough sleep.
- Provide them with a healthy diet.
- Encourage them to practice regularly.
- Be supportive and positive.
- Don’t compare them to other kids.
- Focus on their progress, not their wins and losses.
- Help them develop a love of the sport.
With your help, your kids can achieve great things in sports. Just remember to keep things simple and focus on the basics.
Routine is critical with sleep. Our bodies heavily rely on patterns and rhythms to produce the key building blocks of our tissues, hormones, and many other things. We’ve all been around the crabby kid who didn’t get the sleep they needed, you don’t want to be around them. In athletes performance skyrockets with high-quality sleep. You cannot perform without rest, frequently injuries, illness, and lack of progress are the biggest symptoms of sleep disruptions.
What does routine look like? Bedtime and waketime should be within about 30mn every day. Pre pre-bedtime routine should start about 1 hour before bed and if you are really serious 2. Sleep should be in a quiet dark space without electronics or distractions.
Common difficulties like trouble falling asleep and staying asleep often come down to what happens before bed. Electronics are highly stimulating and can make it very difficult for some of us to rest.
This also includes stimulants. More often kids are consuming sugar, pop, energy drinks, and coffee well into the afternoon. If they are, the quality of sleep will be significantly impacted. Some people can handle caffeine in the afternoon but the vast majority of us are much better off not consuming anything after 1 pm.
If we have taken out the big barriers to sleep and they are still having difficulty then there are a few supplements that are generally considered safe. L-Theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that has been reported to reduce anxiety and improve relaxation. There are reports of improving REM and deep sleep cycles. Magnesium Threonate has been shown to promote relaxation in neurotransmitters of the brain. Myoinositol is thought to work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. Myoinositol may also help to improve sleep quality by:
- Reducing anxiety and stress
- Improving insulin sensitivity
- Reducing inflammation
- Regulating the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle
What should an athlete eat?
A healthy diet is essential for athletes of all ages. Make sure your kids are eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of unhealthy fats.
Are you considering supplements to support your child’s performance and recovery? Before you do, it’s important to offer a balanced perspective. While vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids are common supplements parents may consider, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional before introducing them. Remember, supplements should complement, not replace, a wholesome diet.
As our kids hit their teenage years their appetites increase. You may have already seen this in action in your home but if you haven’t, it’s coming. This is an excellent opportunity for them to develop muscle and become stronger. Don’t be afraid to let your children eat meat, healthy vegetables, seeds, nuts, fruits, and water. We understand that this may be boring for them, but if their goal is to be strong, fast, and the best at their sport, eating enough is essential.
It’s important for athletes to stay hydrated, especially during hot weather or strenuous activity. Encourage your kids to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and make sure they have access to water during practice and games.
A hydration change of as little as 2% of body mass can negatively impact performance. This is because dehydration can lead to a number of physiological changes that can impair physical function, including:
- Decreased blood volume, which can reduce oxygen delivery to the muscles
- Increased core temperature, which can lead to fatigue and muscle cramps
- Decreased sweat rate, which can make it difficult to regulate body temperature
- Increased rate of muscle glycogen use, which can lead to early fatigue
Here are some tips for staying hydrated:
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if you are not thirsty.
- Drink fluids before, during, and after exercise.
- Choose fluids that contain electrolytes, such as sports drinks or coconut water.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these can dehydrate you.
- Be sure to drink more fluids in hot conditions or when you are exercising for long periods of time.
Practice makes perfect! The more your kids practice, the better they will become at their sport. Encourage them to practice regularly and to focus on improving their skills. Focus on how you frame their progress, look for the things they are doing right, and work on strengthening them. It can be easy for all of us to get caught up in what we do wrong and focus on it too much.
Be supportive of your kids’ athletic endeavors. Let them know that you believe in them and that you are proud of their accomplishments. Attend their games and practices, and offer encouragement and positive feedback. Your support gives them the courage to succeed and excel both in sports and life. Having a support system and a team rooting for them can build confidence and the grit needed to push through tough times.
It’s important to remember that every child is different. Don’t compare your kids to other athletes. Instead, focus on their own progress and development. When pointing out things focus on what others do well, don’t talk about what others do poorly. The frame that we use to talk about performance can give motivation or discouragement. There is always something positive to find in a performance that wasn’t ideal. Look for the good.
Focus on progress
It’s easy to get caught up in wins and losses. But it’s important to remember that progress is more important than perfection. Encourage your kids to focus on improving their skills and on having fun.
Nothing will ever be perfect. Practice is progress and leveraging the conversation to focus on progress gives us the space to not need to be perfect but the desire to be better. Start the conversation on progress, and goals for progress, and use tools to measure progress. It is more fun to measure change and the gains we make than the distance between where we are and where we want to be. By focusing on progress, we can give ourselves the space to not need to be perfect but to simply desire to be better.
Here are some additional tips for encouraging your kids to focus on progress:
- Praise effort and improvement, not just results.
- Help your kids set realistic goals that they can achieve.
- Break down large goals into smaller, more manageable steps.
- Provide positive reinforcement along the way.
- Celebrate successes, no matter how small.
- Help your kids learn from their mistakes and setbacks.
- Most importantly, have fun!
Help them develop a love of the sport
The most important thing is to help your kids develop a love of the sport. If they enjoy playing, they will be more likely to stick with it and succeed.