Many professionals in youth sports will tell you that sports
are very beneficial for the kids’ grades and overall success in school.
However, is that really the case? Some people have their
doubts, which is why we want to explain why those doubts are unfounded and
unnecessary. Youth sports play a big part in helping children in academics,
among many other areas where sports are also can have an impact on the lives of young people.
No Sports Without
As you probably already know, youth sports are part of the
school’s program, and as such, they often have requirements which the children
need to fulfill if they want to participate. One of these requirements is
usually maintaining a certain grade point average.
Such a system ensures that children who want to participate
in team sports need to do well in school before they even attempt to join the
sports team of their choosing.
The motivation they get from this is hardly measurable, and
it always provides additional benefits for the child, like improved focus and
higher self-esteem. The latter is more than merely helpful because it’s a trait
that children often lack today.
When playing youth sports, children’s self-esteem rises
because they are surrounded by teammates who share their goals, and who often
become their close friends. Such a positive social surrounding will always
result in children having more will and motivation to do better in other areas
of their lives – including academics.
People who doubt the importance of sports in the realm of
children’s academic success often forget about scholarships, which remain among
the top benefits of playing youth sports.
Sports scholarships are numerous, and many talented kids
have a good chance of winning them when they perform well in their sport.
What’s more, these scholarships are highly coveted for a
compelling reason – they often give opportunities to young people who would
otherwise be unable to afford them.
In the end, it’s worth mentioning that the people who doubt
these benefits often cite the fact that some children have it easier at school
because the coaches and the parents put pressure on the teachers to give them a
break so that they could focus more on their training.
This is an unfortunate fact, but it does occur from time to
time. When this kind of behavior is allowed, this highly beneficial system
loses. We need to work towards eliminating these cases because the children are
missing out on the many valuable lessons. They are not just losing valuable
school lessons, but they also fail to learn the importance of organization,
time management, work ethic, and so much more.
They instead learn that powerful people can get away with
anything in life, which is not something that the children should learn at all.
If you have any additional questions,
feel free to contact us at any time, and we’ll be happy to
Besides training long hours for their sport, a youth
athlete’s body also develops quickly. To get everything needed for proper body
development and to optimize their training, a healthy eating plan must be a
regular component of an athlete’s workout regimen.
Benefits of Nutrition
to Youth Athletes
Snack and meal planning are often pushed to the side because
of hectic schedules (it takes extra time), but it has to be a priority. The
benefits of a proper nutrition plan include:
- Muscle healing and
- Strengthening of the
- Injury prevention
- Decreased muscle
soreness and tiredness
- Increased focus and
- Improved energy levels
Youth Athletes and
Their Nutritional Needs
Children who eat well-balanced, healthy meals will get the
nutrients required to perform at their best in sports. But child athletes have
higher energy requirements. Children and teenagers involved in strenuous
endurance sports or all-day competitions that can involve a few hours of
activity at a time may need to consume more food and fluids due to their
Besides getting enough calories, youth athletes need other
nutrients to be at their peak form, such as:
- Protein. Thanks to protein, muscle
tissue is able to build and repair. Protein-rich foods include lean meat, fish,
poultry, soy products, nuts, beans, and dairy products. However, too much
protein can lead to calcium loss and dehydration.
- Carbs. Carbohydrates provide energy for the body and are an important source of fuel for every
young athlete. There is no need to eat a lot of carbs before a big game, but
without them, children would be running on an “empty tank.” Carb-rich foods
include brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain cereal and bread, and plenty
of vegetables and fruits.
- Vitamins and minerals.
For athletes, iron and calcium and the two most important minerals. Iron helps
carry oxygen throughout the body, and iron-rich foods include chicken, lean
meat, salmon, tuna, fortified whole grains, eggs, leafy green vegetables, and
dried fruits. Calcium helps our bones be strong to resist stress fractures and breaking.
Some of the calcium-rich foods are cheese, yogurt, milk as well as leafy green
- Fluids. Dehydration
can zap energy, coordination, and strength, so young athletes must drink enough fluids
to prevent it. The feeling of thirst is not a reliable sign of one’s hydration
status. Experts recommend that children should drink water (or other fluids)
every 15-20 minutes during their physical activity.
On Game Day
On game days, it’s essential for young athletes to eat well.
The game-day meal shouldn’t be much different from the one they would have
eaten throughout their training. They can choose to eat healthy foods they
believe will boost their performance and don’t cause stomach upset or other problems.
- Three hours before a
game – the meal should have enough carbs and protein, but must be low in fat
and fiber because it can cause digestion problems.
If children eat less
than three hours before practice or game, they should consume a snack or lighter
carb-rich meal that includes easy-to-digest foods like bread, crackers, fruit,
and vegetable or fruit juice.
- After the practice or
game, kids should eat carbs within 30 minutes after activity and again two
hours later. That’s when your kid’s body is replenishing energy stores and
fluids as well as rebuilding muscle tissue, so it’s crucial that the post-event
meal be a balance of protein, fat, and carbs.
When it comes to young athletes, eating for sports should be
an extension of normal healthy eating for life. Young athletes should eat the
right mix and amount of foods to support their increased level of activity.
However, their nutrition regimen shouldn’t be too different from a regular,