Competitive sports can be a lot of fun for kids and teens, but starting a new season requires some planning.
Nemours TeensHealth, a website specializing in children’s health, offers some suggestions for kids and teens who are taking up a new sport or beginning a new season.
• Start by getting into shape. That will make it easier when you begin your sport.
You can do this by writing down an exercise plan. Ask your coach, gym teacher or trainer for workout ideas. If you can’t get to the gym, apps and online workouts offer options for exercising at home.
Write down your goals for the week and your workout plans. If you schedule specific workout times, it will help you stay motivated and stick to your exercise plan. Make a note of a workout you particularly liked so you can repeat it another week.
• Set realistic goals. While this can include general goals like making the team or getting in shape, smaller, specific goals are easier to achieve and can help you build toward your bigger goal.
Write down those goals and discuss them with a parent or coach. Set new goals once you reach those on your list.
• Gear up. If you’re returning to your sport, make sure your equipment still fits. If you’re new to a sport, ask your coach what you’ll need.
Secondhand or borrowed gear can save you money. Make sure all your gear is clean and safe to use. Ask your coach to look it over if you’re unsure, Nemours suggests.
• Think about attending a sports camp. This can be a way to practice skills before a season begins. College players, coaches or other professionals often teach these camps.
Most include drill sessions, then scrimmages toward the end of the day. Drill work helps improve skills, while scrimmaging with other campers lets you practice those skills. This can give you a sense of what it’s like to play on a team.
• See your doctor for a sports physical. It’s a busy season for these physicals, so make sure your family sets up an appointment before your season starts. If you wear glasses, consider visiting your eye doctor to check your prescription and get the right protective eyewear.
Be sure to build rest into your schedule, with at least one to two days off a week from competitive sports and training. Take at least two months off each year from any particular sport to prevent repetitive stress injuries, Nemours advises.