Cramps are involuntary but intensely painful contractions in the muscles of the body that almost every athlete has probably experienced at least once. Although they are not long-term sports injuries, they cause excruciating discomfort. While they may only last a few minutes, cramps can definitely have a negative impact on an athlete’s in-game performance.
There are a few possible causes for cramps and they include:
- Muscle fatigue
- Heavy exercise
- Dietary mineral deficiencies
To prevent cramping, here are some tips:
Consume an adequate amount of fluids for your body to prevent dehydration.
Dehydration causes nerve endings to discharge, and this spontaneous discharge results in a muscle twitch which may lead to a muscle cramp.
Before competition, consume non-caffeinated, non-carbonated and sugar-free drinks throughout the day to keep yourself dehydrated. The average person excretes roughly 1.5 liters of urine per day, meaning you should be replacing those lost fluids with about 1.5 liters of water a day.
Consume fluids two to three hours prior to your game and again to minutes before. Never arrive at your game thirsty and never allow yourself to get thirsty during the game. It is ideal for you to consume fluids every 15 minutes and sports drinks are great for replenishing lost electrolytes.
Opt for Salty Foods
Choose salty foods or sodium rich sports products before, during and after exercise. Electrolytes regulate the shift of fluids in and out of cells. The electrolyte that should be most controlled during physical activity is sodium.
Both water and sodium are lost in sweat, and we lose more sodium just by sweating more than the other electrolytes. Replacement of water without sodium can result in severely low blood sodium levels which can thrust the body into hyponatremia.
When the concentration of sodium in the blood decreases, muscle cramps are likely to occur.
Prevent Carbohydrate Depletion
Muscle require carbohydrates to contract and energy to relax. Carbohydrates fuel us during exercise and carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in our muscles. Our glycogen stores are typically depleted between 60 to 90 minutes of exercise.
Prevent cramping by consuming carbohydrates before your workout and during your workout if it is longer than 60-90 minutes. Once that store of glycogen has been depleted, we are at high risk for muscle cramps.
Teenagers have a lot on their plates day in and day out. Between classes, homework, chores, and other extracurricular activities, many teens may think that adding another activity to what they may feel like is already a heavy load, may be stressful.
However, what many of them may not realize is that participating in sports can be an incredible way of reducing stress. Here’s how:
Sports Stimulate the Body’s Production of Endorphins
Physical activities such as sports stimulate the body’s production of chemicals that are responsible for the positive changes in an individual’s mood. These neurotransmitters are called endorphins, and at heightened levels, they cause a “feel-good” response. In fact, this rush is referred to as “runner’s high.” This feeling helps to release tension.
Sports Engagement Increases Self-Esteem
Improved self-esteem can dramatically reduce your overall levels of stress. Being a part of a team is an amazing way to build one’s self-esteem; when you are more confident in your own abilities you feel better about yourself.
Sports can improve your confidence when meeting goals that you have set for yourself. Sports promote individuals to feel positive about themselves. Through competition, they discover their own potential to do better and to hold themselves to a higher standard.
People who are active in sports generally have healthier bodies. For teens who are not happy with their self-image, having a body that is fit is great for self-confidence.
Sports Can Relieve Mental Stress by Promoting Better Sleep
Studies have shown that sports and exercise can decrease mild symptoms of depression and even improve the quality of sleep.
The quality of your sleep has been linked to your sense of well-being. The more sleep you get, the better you feel. Lack of sleep can be frustrating and lead to anxiety. The physical activity that is received from playing sports can help increase sleep duration.
Sports Participation Promotes Socialization
A great way of managing stress is through socializing. Socialization helps relieve stress by promoting the hormone oxytocin which promotes relaxation, thus reducing anxiety.
Playing a sport, mainly a team sport, gives you the opportunity to make new friends who share a common interest. Being around others who share a mutual goal motivates you. This motivation can significantly relieve anxiety and steer you away from depression.
Involvement in team sports has been associated with social acceptance which can be further nurtured through positive coaching and support from team members.
It is easy to assume that because a person was a great athlete that they will make a great coach.
And while you can probably name a few coaches who were once great players, the reality is that it is rare. Yes, there are successful coaches who were once great players like Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Jason Kidd, Steve Kerr, Diego Maradona, and Johan Cruyff. However, as great as they were as players, many might still debate their effectiveness as coaches. Although we have mentioned a few, we still wonder why we could not list more.
The reality is that our assumptions may be wrong. Just because a coach, once an athlete, dominated the leaderboard in their prime years, it does not mean that they will automatically make great coaches.
Indeed, it helps for a coach to have played the sport for them to later be good at coaching. And when you think about the best coaches across all sports, the majority of them did play the game on some level. However, were they necessarily the best or most celebrated player on the team?
The reality is, great coaching doesn’t demand that you were an exceptional athlete nor does it require that you have ever even played the sport before. Surprised?
What is the most important skill that a coach should have?
It’s not athletic skill. And it’s not an in-depth knowledge of the fundamentals and rules of the game either. All those are great, it’s true. But the most essential skill that a coach must have is the ability to communicate with their players.
Coaching is more than just sharing your experiences as an athlete to your players and hoping that they will learn from your mistakes or acquire skill based on your demonstrations. Coaching certainly is not about expecting your players to become the same athlete you were back in your day. Often, skilled athletes have a hard time putting their actions into words. Performing is one thing and teaching it is clearly another.
There are characteristics that all great coaches have. Leadership is one of them. While leadership skills can be taught, knowing what it takes to be a leader does not automatically make you one.
Traits like passion for coaching also cannot be taught. You either have a genuine drive for molding athletes so that they can reach their highest potential or you do not. Coaching is about bringing out the inherent talents of your individual players.
Being a great athlete does not equate to being a great coach. In fact, they are two different trades. As an athlete, you train so that you can compete. As a coach, you manage those athletes so that when they are called to compete, they are physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared.
The inclusion of transgender students on high school athletic teams has become a key issue across the country.
Nationwide, high schools strive to provide opportunities for all young people. Because athletics is an integral part of the extracurricular programs that every high school in the United States offers, schools want to ensure that all students have equal access to participate. It’s even more important when you take into consideration how sports can provide physical and emotional benefits for its athletes.
In Caitlyn Jenner’s 2015 ESPYs speech, she called for transgender youths to be “given the chance to play sports as who they really are.”
The movement to allow transgender athletes to compete on the teams where they feel most comfortable has already been pushed at the state level as many states in the US still don’t have any policies.
The National Federation of State High School Associations reports that 13 states and District of Columbia have enacted laws that protect students from discrimination’s based on their gender identity.
For many years, discrimination has prevented transgender students to fully and safely participate in school sports. The participation of transgender students in sports has often been viewed as disruptive as they are required to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender that they were assigned at birth.
This would mean that students who identified as female would still need to use the boys’ locker room and an athlete who identified as male would be required to use the ladies’ bathroom.
However, some states have already adopted policies that will allow a student to participate in a sport based on their affirmed gender identity which also includes additional “gender-related advantages.” Additionally, there are also policies that note that it is illegal to discriminate based on gender identity. However, individual schools still get to determine whether the athlete is eligible to play.
Many, despite these policies, do not agree that transgender students should be allowed to participate in sports based on their gender identity because of the perceived advantage that an athlete may have. For example, a boy who identifies as female still has a higher testosterone level compared to other girls. She may be taller and even stronger which in terms of athletics is clearly an advantage.
This concern isn’t the same, however for transgender girls who want to participate on the boys’ team. But it does raise concerns that if transgender athletes were to participate on the team that they identify with and also use the corresponding locker rooms and bathrooms, does it put transgender boys at risk for harassment from other boys who still view them as female?
Kye Allums, the first openly transgender NCAA Division I athlete, argues that being an athletic transcends gender. “Strength is not a measure of hormones or testosterone. A lot of the strength comes from your heart and what you work for,” he says.
“Sports is about winning. It’s about competing. It’s about respect. It’s about heart. It’s about teamwork. And it’s about playing the came. It’s not about what’s underneath your jersey.”
NTBA joins the trend toward easier, speedier, higher tech ways to raise funds for youth sports teams
(June 19, 2017, Newark, NJ) LeagueGrowth.com Assisted Fundraising announced it has been named the official team fundraising partner of the National Travel Basketball Association, or NTBA, which runs one of the largest series of youth hoops tournaments for boys and girls 3rd through 12th grade, involving approximately 1,000 teams.
“Like most youth sports leagues and tournament organizations, NTBA wants to provide the best experience for its teams, from facilities to fairness to referees and refreshments,” said John Whitley, Founder and President of NTBA. “And part of providing the best these days is full and fast funding, with minimal distraction for busy coaches and team leaders. So we reached out to our trusted partners in the hoop community, who referred us to LeagueGrowth.com Assisted Fundraising for ease of use, high yields and speed.”
The NTBA is riding a wave of demand for quality tournament opportunities and reliable tournament organization brands in youth team sports. Its ability to attract a growing group of over 1,000 teams who return season after season is testimony to NTBA’s commitment to high standards. SportsMarketAnalytics.com data reports there are 32.1 million American youth athletes, and 7.9 million high school athletes playing team sports, and altogether these teams fundraise up to $3 billion to meet their budget needs. In 2016, with 15 years’ experience as a youth league leader and media entrepreneur, LeagueNetwork.com founder leader Anne-Sophie Whitehead launched LeagueGrowth.com. Since then, it has become the funding partner of choice for leagues, clubs and teams like those playing in NTBA competitions, and in 20 other team sports as well.
“Today’s youth league leaders, parents and players face record-high team costs. The financial pressure is most intense for clubs that travel and compete at the higher levels,” says Anne-Sophie Whitehead. “Truth is, I learned the hard way as a 15-year youth league leader that old team fundraising habits such as candy sales, banquets, events and raffles are too hard, slow, and low-yielding. So we built LeagueGrowth.com Assisted Fundraising with new mobile technologies and expert service to be easy, fast and high-yielding enough to become teams’ new funding habit. We’re honored to be selected by the NTBA and look forward to helping its teams raise the funds they need.”
About the National Travel Basketball Association (NTBA)
The National Travel Basketball Association (NTBA) hosts tournaments across the country for boys and girls 3rd – 12th grade. Our National Championship conclude each year in late June through mid-July in sunny Myrtle Beach, SC. NTBA’s highly experience staff works hard to bring you the most organized events in the country. We believe in making all of our tournaments affordable while still providing the best service in the industry such as great team and individual awards, certified officials, great facilities, and much more! We look forward to serving your team needs and seeing you at one of our incredible upcoming events. More information at PlayNTBA.com.
About League Network and LeagueGrowth.com Assisted Fundraising
LeagueGrowth.com Assisted Fundraising is part of LeagueNetwork.com, a media platform started in 2016 by 15-year youth sports and media leader Anne-Sophie Whitehead to help 41,000 leagues in 21 team sports make Better Leagues, Better Lives. LeagueNetwork.com media drives demand for LeagueGrowth.com Assisted Fundraising, which since its early 2017 launch has become “the new team funding habit.” We are backed by pro athletes and venture capitalist investors and based at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ. More information at LeagueNetwork.com.
Media Contact: Elijah Masek Kelly, Powerful Outreach, firstname.lastname@example.org