You can feel it. You can smell it. Spring is in the air. Oh, to be sure, we aren’t finished with wintry weather in Central Oregon, but it won’t be long before we’ll be heading out on the trails or watching our kids play baseball or soccer. It’s time to take a good look at our kids (and ourselves) and help prepare them for the change of season and activities.
1. Encourage preparation.
Maybe your children have been playing sporadically over the winter when the weather allowed or occasionally indoors. Whether your child has been involved in a winter sport or has been relatively sedentary all winter long, it is good to encourage different physical activity prior to starting a new season. With older children, find out if their coach recommends any specific conditioning activities to prepare for the upcoming season. You can help children of any age become more active by encouraging them to go outside and walk or run around—or better yet, join them! Take a few minutes each day to do some simple stretching exercises together, too. Build up a fun little routine with your child. It’s great for your child, and it’s also good for you.
Ten minutes of stretching before you play is a must. A light jog or fast walk can be very helpful before you stretch. Stretching cold muscles can lead to pulls and strains. Ten minutes of stretching might save a month or two of being on the disabled list.
2. Strike a balance.
When thinking about sports, you must think about your child and their schedule, and seek to strike a healthy balance. How will the sport fit into your child’s schedule? Don’t discount the impact of his/her other commitments—especially school—and the demands that the increased activity will put on your whole family. Signing up can be fun in the moment, but the reality of time pressures can change the enjoyment when you are living it.
3. Get a check-up.
Many high school and middle school sports programs require that athletes get a physical prior to playing. Family Choice offers Sports Physicals all day, 7 days a week for only $30. It is our goal to make it as convenient as possible for you to get this done amongst busy family schedules.
4. Consider other sports.
Overuse injuries are increasingly becoming problematic in youth who are so dedicated to one sport that they don’t take any time off. It’s so important to have an off season from your favorite sport. That means a break of about 10-12 weeks. The extended break gives the body time to rest and heal. So, if your child is playing, for example, baseball or soccer year-round, it might be time to encourage him/her to take time off and give another a sport a try for a season. That gives them the chance to learn some new skills, which can enhance their overall athletic development. It might even help them enjoy their favorite sport longer. If you go too hard too early, the risk of injury is greater, and it’s not fun anymore and they can burn out.
5. Don’t bail.
Even if your child isn’t a superstar on the playing field, that’s okay. Don’t pull your child out of a sport—or not sign them up to play at all—just because they’re not the best player on the team. Think long term. Remember that the main reasons that most children should be playing sports are to have fun and to get some exercise—and maybe learn a few skills.
In the end, remember the cardinal kids’ sports rule: “Keep it fun.”
6. Consider entering the Kids’ Pole Pedal Paddle to kick off the Spring.
This year’s event will be held on Sunday, May 20th. Kids in grades K-5 will participate on teams of six. First, they will compete in a fun memory challenge, then as a team in the Human Centipede Challenge to get to the start of the obstacle course. All members will get to complete the new and improved obstacle course. Back by popular demand, one team member will finish off the race with a sprint. However, every team member will get to do the obstacle course. For registration:
When you participate in the Kids’ Pole Pedal Paddle, you support the work and mission of the Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation (MSBEF). Over 600 young athletes participate in MBSEF’s winter sports programs for junior athletes—alpine and nordic skiing, snowboarding, freeride skiing, and cycling training. Our main objective is to assist junior athletes in achieving their individual athletic, academic, and personal goals. Generations of local youth have benefited from the positive experiences and values nurtured through MBSEF programs—sportsmanship, self-discipline, goal setting, character building, and the pursuit of healthy lifestyle activities. MBSEF programs make a lasting positive impact in the lives of local youth.