As we head into March, it means it is time for spring sports! As the weather starts to warm up, kids are moving back outside for sports, such as baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, field hockey, and lacrosse. If your child is new to spring sports or has been playing for years, there are a few things parents can do to help them have a safe and successful spring sports season.
Get a Physical
While schools often require an annual physical to participate on a school sports team, you should have your child get a physical exam by a doctor even if their club or travel team does not require one. During the physical, the doctor will make sure your child is physically fit and able to play. The doctor will also look for any potential red flags.
Wear the Appropriate Gear & Check the Sizes
Treat their sports gear seriously. Gear like mouth guards is used to keep kids safe while on the field. Make sure they have all the required gear and wear it as they should. Also, be sure to check the sizes to make sure last season’s gear still fits correctly, and if not, then replace it.
Stress the Importance of Stretching
Young athletes tend to think stretching is a waste of time. As adults, we know it isn’t. Stretching is extremely important for their safety and health. Therefore, stress the importance of stretching.
Keep Them Hydrated
At home, in the car, and at practice, encourage them to drink water. Go ahead and invest in the water bottle that you know your kid will value and use, such as a hydro flask. Plus, reusable water bottles are better for the environment.
Remind Them to Protect Their Skin
Sadly, skin cancer is rapidly rising in young adults. Since the majority of spring sports take place outdoors, it is crucial to make kids wear sun protection. If your kids are younger, then you can coat them in SPF yourself. But, if they are older, you need to have a serious talk about the importance of protecting their skin and put a bottle of sunscreen in their gym bag.
Encourage Them to Be Honest About Injuries
As much as your child loves the sport and fears disappointing coaches or teammates, you need to encourage your child to be honest about injuries or pain. Dr. Wu for Parents explains, “When something starts to hurt, it’s the body telling us that something isn’t right and a young athlete should point out any pain to her coach and parent […] A lot of times it’s just lack of stretching, overuse, or cramping. But sometimes the pain can be caused by a sprain, an inflammation, or even a stress fracture.”
Help Them Develop Friendships with Teammates
Playing sports is a great way to develop strong bonds and friendships with others. You can make this even easier by using Karpool to set up a carpool with other team parents. This way, kids will get to know one another before and after practice as well. Parent bonus – you will save time and money!
Model Good Sportsmanship
We’ve all heard or seen parents being disrespectful to referees or coaches at little league games. Don’t let this be you. You are your child’s best model for good sportsmanship. Do your best to have a positive attitude when talking with your child, and especially when you are on the sidelines.
Be Their Biggest Fan
Last but not least, the best thing you can do to ensure this spring sports season is successful is to be your child’s biggest fan. Cheer him or her on before, during, and after each game – no matter if they win or lose.