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,
Every coach aiming to be a great coach needs to learn how to
run the tryouts properly. We know that this is essential knowledge, which is
why we wanted to help you with some advice and tips that will enable you to run
A Good Plan Is a Necessity
No tryouts can be accomplished successfully unless you’ve
prepared a plan for it. The method needs to include the athlete check-in but
also a detailed overview of everything that you want to achieve with your
players. These accomplishments should be comprehensive, meaning they need to
include specific skills, team situations, physical testing, drills, and more.
The plan shouldn’t omit the staff, and it should include
what everyone on the staff will be doing during the tryouts. No one should have
too much to do, and all work needs to be separated according to the abilities
of everyone on the staff.
When the plan is ready, you can conduct a session to see if
it will all work well in practice.
You Need to Have all
the Equipment Prepared
The equipment we are talking about is all the equipment used
by you, the staff, and the players. Make a checklist of everything needed and
go through it once all the things are collected, prepared, and ready.
Never forget to have a tryout evaluation form or at least a
printed list of players to take notes on. The Forms need a clipboard as a
basis, and you need pens and pencils to write on them.
Furthermore, all players should have name tags through which
you can identify them and stay organized.
You should also keep a fully charged phone or an extra
battery as you’ll have to use it for taking pictures and videos when you need
and to keep track of the time.
In the end, never forget your whistle or water and snacks
for both the players and the staff. You don’t want anyone getting dehydrated or
spending energy on an empty stomach.
Don’t Forget Warm-Ups
and Cool Downs
For some reason, warm-ups are often overlooked in tryouts,
which is why you should make sure they are included. Every player needs to
properly warm up their muscles as that will reduce the chance of injury.
Warm-ups are also useful for keeping athletes focused and
for keeping them in the same area. They are also beneficial for you if you need
time to talk to the parents.
As much as stretching matters before
physical activities, they also matter immediately afterward. A cool down is a
bit different from the warm-up as it should be a period where players are doing
some more gentle stretches designed to get their heart rates back to normal.
The Bottom Line
If you can follow everything laid out here, you’ll have no
problems while running tryouts. However, remember that everything needs to be
done on time and according to schedule.
Now all that’s left for you is to contact
us if you happen to have some questions.
Many things factor into how well a sport can be played. The
equipment, the weather conditions, the type of field, are all factors. That’s
why we wanted to discuss the difference between synthetic turf and natural
grass field in youth sports and how each affects the way the youth players play
The Benefits of Grass
Some would say that the main benefit of grass is that it’s
natural and looks far better than synthetic turf. However, that’s mostly a
matter of opinion. The more measurable benefits are certainly the facts that
grass does not overheat, and it helps in improving the quality of the air the
Unlike all synthetic grass, natural grass cannot overheat
during the summer when there are more games, and the temperatures are much higher.
When water runs through real grass, the moisture remains in it, which helps it
stay cooler, something that is not the case with synthetic turf.
As for better air quality, grass, just like all other
plants, breaks down pollutants from the air and produces oxygen. That’s useful
for all of us anywhere, but it’s especially helpful if the field in question is
in a larger city where pollution is on a much higher level than in other areas.
The Benefits of Turf
The main advantages of synthetic turfs or any type of
artificial fields are the fact that they are easy to maintain and that they
have a much longer life expectancy. It doesn’t matter how much playing happens
on that turf; it is evident that this type of field lasts much longer than
other types of fields, especially natural grass.
The synthetic grass used in turfs is not immune to problems
as it’s not resistant to tears and rips that soccer shoes and other athletic
equipment usually cause. However, these things still happen less often than
with other fields. That’s also one of the main reasons why there’s less
maintenance required in these fields. There is no mowing and watering to be
done, and there’s no care and fertilizing needed as is the case with natural
grass. There is only occasional rinsing and brushing.
Which is Better?
It’s not an easy question to answer all in all. It seems to
depend on what you and the players require from the field and which benefits
you feel are more desirable.
However, it’s also worth mentioning the injuries that can
occur depending on the type of field the youth players are using. We’ve already written about it before, and it
seems that all research points to the fact that artificial or synthetic turf
can cause more injuries to players than natural grass can.
Now, for some, this might be enough of
a reason not to use synthetic turf as the preferred type of fields on which the
youth athletes are playing. However, it’s still evident that if we are going to
care about the well-being of our children, we shouldn’t opt for turf instead of
grass, even though there’s more maintenance involved.
What do you think?
If your child is suffering from stress and anxiety due to
school or something else, you should consider getting them interested in
sports. Even though there are fewer children playing sports now than before,
you should work towards changing that but getting your children to participate
in a youth sport of their choosing, or even more than one.
We say this because sports has scientifically been proven to
help with anxiety and stress in both adults and children. Let’s take a look at
how that works in youth sports and how your child can benefit.
It’s More Than
Another Additional Activity
Physical activity should not be considered as a chore, even
though some children might feel like that. Physical activity and sports, in
general, are more beneficial than they are problematic. Even though your child
might already have a lot to do every day, and by adding another ‘chore’ you
both might feel like it would do harm, the reality is the exact opposite.
Playing sports will bring your child a lot. They will start
leading a healthier lifestyle and will improve their social skills and
cooperation. They will learn and gain a lot that will eventually benefit them
in later life – competitiveness, ambition, and they will build character.
All of this is why your child should play sports even if
that means that they will have a lot more to do every day. It will be stressful
at first as those problems don’t go away overnight, but once they get into it,
these practices and matches will ease their anxiety and stress.
What Do Sports Do for
- They stimulate the
production of endorphins
Sports and other physical activities are essential when it
comes to our endorphin production as they stimulate its production. Endorphin
is, as you probably already know, responsible for our mood. Essentially, youth
sports can help your child feel better and thus ease stress and other problems.
- They promote
It might seem like something that won’t work on stress and
anxiety, but in reality more socializing can help your child in many ways.
Children need socializing, the need to make bonds with other children, and they
need friendship. The best way to get all of that is by playing team sports.
That socialization will eventually relieve them of stress and anxiety with
which they’ve been struggling before.
- They lower depression
levels and promote better sleep
Finally, it’s worth noting that there
are a lot of studies that show that sports can help ease the symptoms of
depression and can also promote improved sleep patterns. Sleep on its own is a
great way to alleviate anxiety and stress, and when sports induce it, it’s even
The Bottom Line Once you consider all of this, it becomes quite evident that youth sports can benefit your child in more ways than you previously thought. It’s thus imperative to get your child to play sports if they are having problems with stress and anxiety. However, make sure you are not pushing them too hard because over-training can bring these problems back.
It’s worth noting that the world’s best athletes have
pre-game routines, and it’s been like that for as long as we can remember. But
why is that the case? Do these routines play any significance in these
In this article, we will give you three compelling reasons
which adequately explain why pre-game routines are essential for every athlete
They Are the Best Preparation Method
First and foremost, pre-game routines are the best
preparation method an athlete can use. Why? Mostly because habits develop your
abilities and skills, they essentially get you ready for the match ahead. An excellent pre-game routine will enable you to
ascertain everything you know you can do essentially.
Routines do this by making sure that everything you have
learned in practice will now be effectively performed in the game. You can
develop these routines during practice and repeat them before a match, and that
should be enough to get you truly ready for the game.
They Build Confidence in Your Abilities
The only thing in a game that you can control is yourself.
You can do nothing about the weather conditions or the knowledge of your
opponents. You can barely even control how your team performs. The only thing
that you can control is your playing
and your ability.
Even when you’re a great player, you’ll still lose faith in
yourself from time to time, which is where routines will come in handy. They
enable a player to build their confidence and get them mentally ready for the
game at hand.
They Calm You Down
We all, as human beings, love routines. We like having some
consistency about a lot of things in our lives. It calms us down because it
reassures us that everything is alright. That all works on a deep psychological
level and in an effort not to get too technical – routines are familiar, we
know how they unfold and what will happen, and this certainty inherently breeds
The same can be said for sports and pre-game routines. By
repeating particular moves, we’ll naturally feel safer and thus more calm in
that period when most athletes are under stress. The game that’s about to start
won’t be a scary thing anymore once all the frequent moves, i.e., your routine,
have been performed.
Build Your Perfect Routine
There’s no routine out there that can help you achieve what
you want to achieve, but you can certainly build one for yourself.
Every player needs to take a look at what works best for
them and develop that into a sequence of moves that will work as a pre-game
If you are a coach, you should explain
this to your players and get them to start developing their routines if they
don’t have ones. Explain to them that the habit will end up being more than
merely helpful. They might even lead them to have the best game of their lives.
If you’re interested in more articles like this
one, feel free to take a look at our blog, or contact
us if you want to get more information.
It often happens in youth sports that the coach chooses to
use the same players many times over. It leaves the parents of the kids not
getting to play puzzled and sometimes angry.
Why is the coach not picking my child? Do they not like my
child? Is my child not good at this sport? There are a lot of questions that
naturally arise in such situations, and all of these are valid concerns. There
can be a lot of reasons why a coach is choosing certain players and not others.
However, the reality is usually straightforward. The coach
chooses specific players because they think those are the best players on the
team and the coach wants their team to win.
Having Favorites – Is It Good?
For many, this is the clear case of a coach having
favorites, and it can get very annoying for both the looked over players and
their parents. In the end, the most important thing for both players and their
parents is for the players to play the game. Winning matters, but playing is more important
to most of those involved.
We at League Network believe that youth sports need
to be more about playing and having fun and not about winning. Yes, winning
does matter, but it can’t always come at the cost of most players having the
chance to shine.
In youth sports, it’s essential for the children, especially
in their pre-teen days, to have enough chances to learn and train – and they
can’t do that unless they get the opportunity to play in matches.
So, mostly, having favorites cannot be a good thing,
especially as it leads to coaches rarely using other players, which leads to
resentment and a desire to stop playing the sport altogether.
What Can You Do?
If you’re a parent of a child not getting enough chances to
play, the first thing that you should do is discuss this with the coach. Most
coaches are reasonable, and they just got carried away with their desire to
win. They will give your child a chance if you explain to them what’s going on.
However, sometimes coaches will not listen to reason, and
they will remain firm in their stance to only choose their favorites as that’s
the best way for them to win the game.
In such cases, the only thing that you can do is to get your
child to practice more and try to become much better.
On the other hand, in some situations coaches have favorites
because of their relationship with the parents – for example, the parents are
their friends, or they are wealthy and support the school, and they demand
their child to play. In such cases, it can even happen that the child is a
terrible player, so such favoritism is bringing no one any good.
In these cases, the only thing that can be done is for a
larger group of parents to confront the coach and try and convince him or her
to turn over a different leaf and stop having favorites.
All in all, a conversation is always the best course of
action when coaches are playing favorites.