Athletic Tips for Kids

Young athletes today repeatedly think they are unbeatable. The following tips can help ensure your child does not miss a step when it comes to proper fitness, stretching, training and rest that the body needs to engage in sports.

Encourage your child to:

  • Wear the proper equipment. Certain contact sports, such as football and hockey, can be risky if the equipment is not properly fitted. Make sure all equipment, including helmets, pads and shoes fit your child or adolescent. Talk to your child’s coach or trainer if the equipment is damaged.

  • Eat healthy meals.
    Make sure your young athlete is eating a balanced diet and does not skip meals. Refrain from fatty foods, such as candy bars and takeout. At home, serve fruit rather than cookies, and vegetables rather than potato chips. Maintain a healthy weight. Certain sports, such as gymnastics, wrestling and figure skating, may require your young athlete to follow strict dietary guidelines. Be sure your child does not feel pressured into being too thin and that he/she understands that appropriate nutrition and caloric intake is needed for optimal performance and endurance.

  • Drink water.
    Hydration is a key element to ideal fitness. Teenage athletes should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Younger athletes should drink five to eight 8-ounce glasses of water.

  • Drink milk.
    Make sure your child has enough calcium included in his/her diet. For children over 2 years of age, ACA recommends 1 percent or skim milk rather than whole milk. Milk is vital for strong bones and diminishes the possibility of joint and muscle related injuries. Avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks. Sports drinks are a good source of replenishment for kids involved in long duration sports, such as track and field.

  • Follow a warm-up routine.
    Be sure your child or his/her coach includes a warm-up and stretching session before every practice, game or meet. A slow jog, jumping rope and/or lifting small weights reduces the risk of torn or ripped muscles. Flexibility is the key when pushing to score that extra goal or make that critical play.

  • Take vitamins daily.
    A multi-vitamin and Vitamin C are good choices for the young athlete. Vitamin B and amino acids may help diminish the pain from contact sports. Thiamine can stimulate healing. Consider Vitamin A to reinforce scar tissue.

  • Avoid trendy supplements.
    Kids under the age of 18 should avoid the use of performance-enhancing supplements, such as creatine. Instead, they should ask their coach or trainer to include weekly weight training and body-conditioning sessions in their workout.

  • Get plenty of rest.
    Eight hours of sleep is ideal for the young athlete. Sleep deprivation can decrease performance. Lethargy, irritability and loss of interest could indicate that your child is exhausted.

Chiropractic Care Can Help

Doctors of chiropractic are highly qualified and licensed to treat the entire neuromusculoskeletal system and can deliver guidance on sports training, nutrition and injury prevention to young athletes.