How to help your student-athlete stay in shape?
Photo by Gabriel Rodrigues on Unsplash
Being a parent of a budding young athlete comes with a great amount of responsibility. Not only do you need to ensure that your child has all of the gear and the opportunities that they need to take their game to the next level, but you also need to help them to make good choices so that they can compete to the best of their abilities. Here are five ways that you can help your student-athlete to stay in shape.
Maintain proper nutrition
Your student-athlete will only be as successful as their nutritional plan will take them. Especially as your child gets older, it will be more important than ever that they are intentional about choosing nourishing foods in their diet. The cornerstone of a diet plan for a young athlete should
be healthy carbohydrates, including vegetables, fruits, and a variety of whole grains.
Your student-athlete should also prioritize plenty of healthy fats. This includes nuts, avocados, and nut butter. Eating plenty of lean proteins will help to provide relief to sore muscles and support the body in its efforts to repair itself after a strenuous workout. While there is always a place for the occasional indulgence, it is a good idea to discourage too much fast food.
Explore the use of supplements
Even with younger athletes, there is a place for supplements. With so many different types of supplements in Canada (or whatever area you live in) to choose from, it is easy to create the perfect plan to meet the specific needs of your child.
For example, if they are looking to put on muscle in order to improve their game, you are going to want to look into the use of a protein powder. There are also supplements that can help speed up muscle recovery, deliver energy, and more. Leveraging the power of supplements is an easy and cost-effective way to make sure that your student-athlete is meeting all of their nutritional needs.
Kids are notorious for not taking the time to stay properly hydrated. It is easy for them to blow off drinking the proper amount of water because they do not think that it matters to their overall health and performance. As a parent, you need to ensure that your student-athlete is staying properly hydrated.
The right hydration level can head off headaches, muscle cramps, and overall fatigue. Many parents mistakenly load up their kids with sugary sports drinks. While these drinks are good at replacing lost electrolytes, their use should be kept to a minimum and only used during extreme weather or excessive exercise.
Make it family fun
Your child will be more likely to stay in shape if they do not look at exercise as a chore. You can encourage them to get moving if you make it fun to work out. Making exercise a regular family activity will encourage your student-athlete to stay in shape while also providing a crucial social connection.
There are a number of ways that you can make this fun for the whole family. Perhaps you want to pick out a fun run to register and train for together? Or maybe you want to make family hikes a regular part of your weekend routine? The goal is to spin this as a fun activity so that your child is exercising without it seeming like a chore that they need to complete.
Many young athletes make the mistake of specializing in one sport too early. All of the experts will tell you that it is better to play multiple sports throughout childhood. Not only does this expose the child to more activities, but it will also prevent the burnout that often goes with sports specialization at a young age.
Your student-athlete will also be less likely to suffer from overuse injuries if they cross-train and play different sports. For example, a basketball player may want to spend the off-season running on a cross country team. The stamina and cardiovascular benefits of running will pay off on the basketball court.
These five tips will help you to guide your favorite student-athlete on their path to athletic success. Above all, it is mostly your job to be their number one fan and support person along this journey.