It’s officially summertime, and that means trying to beat the heat. The whole country is experiencing a heat wave, and even states with usually high-heat summers are experiencing temperatures well above normal. If you’re involved in youth sports, you know better than most how it feels to burn up under the summer sun.
Just because we all have to deal with the summer heat during summer sports season doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to help manage it, however. Whether you’re a manager, player, parent or spectator, there are ways you can start beating the heat while you’re out supporting your team or playing your sport.
1. Stay Hydrated
This is likely the most important thing you can do in order to stay cool AND stay hydrated this summer. With heat comes sweat, and sweating out your body’s water content means you need to be constantly replenishing it.
Coaches should have coolers filled with water bottles for players ready at any moment. Parents also have a responsibility to make sure their children are well hydrated before they board the bus to the game or show up on the field. Don’t neglect yourself, either. Whether you’re a spectator, a volunteer or other adult that’s there to support the players, you also need to stay hydrated to stay cool and healthy.
OK this does not help with staying cool but it’s worth reminding your players, and family members to lather up ahead of being on the field, and chose a sport-specific, high-protection sunscreen. Most sunscreens now are lightweight non sticky, non-smelly and less stingy. This is not worth the short term (ouch!) and long-term risk to one’s health.
3. Invest in Shade
Cooling down can be hard when you’re out in the sweltering sun. The solution? Start blocking the sun out.
Umbrellas and other shade-makers are on the market for relatively cheap prices. If you’re a parent, go in on a large stadium umbrella or a tent with another parent and share. At a larger level, think about a fundraiser for shaded stadium seats or a shelter for the teams if your field doesn’t provide them. Not only will the players have a chance to keep out the sun, they’ll also be warmer, and drier when the weather turns cold.
4. Cool Snacks
Parents are usually enlisted to provide snacks for games and practices, and this is their chance to cool off their team. Pack a cooler full of ice and load it up with colder snacks. Don’t immediately turn to ice cream and sugary popsicles, though. Pack it full of sandwiches and fruit juice popsicles that aren’t loaded with sugar. Juicy fruits like oranges and other citruses can also pack vitamins, contain natural sugars and offer a relief from the heat.
5. Support Fans
Many sporting goods stores sell small, hand-held fans for cheap prices. Coaches and League Managers can also buy these or caps in bulk for discounted prices to match team colors (and have a logo added through a promotional item vendor). Include them as part of a membership package to be passed out with uniforms, or sell them to parents at the concession stand.
The extra funds can be used to support for the players – and matching accessories increase the “coolness factor” (pun intended) of your team!