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Preparing Your Child for Fall Sports: Tips for a Successful Season

Published in Sports Medicine , For the Health of It Author: Ryan Davis,DO

As summer days stretch long and the school year seems far away, it's easy to forget that fall sports season is just around the corner. Whether your child is a seasoned athlete or trying out for a new team, preparation is key to ensuring they have a safe and successful season. Here are a few tips to help get your child ready for the upcoming fall sports season.

Start Physical Conditioning Early

Avoid the rush of last-minute training by encouraging your child to stay active all summer and start conditioning early. Summer is the perfect time to build a fitness base that will help prevent injuries and improve performance. Encourage your child to engage in a mix of aerobic exercises, strength training, and flexibility activities. Running, swimming, biking, or even family hikes are great ways to keep active. Incorporating a regular stretching routine can also enhance flexibility and reduce the risk of strains.

Establish a Routine

Getting into a routine can make the transition to the structured environment of fall sports smoother. Encourage your child to go to bed and wake up at consistent times, aiming for at least 8-10 hours of sleep per night. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains will provide the necessary fuel for both growth and athletic performance.

Focus on Skills and Drills

If your child is returning to a familiar sport, summer is an ideal time to refine their skills. Practicing basic drills can help maintain and improve their proficiency. For those trying a new sport, learning the fundamental rules and techniques can ease anxiety and build confidence. Many local communities offer summer clinics and camps that provide professional coaching and a fun environment for skill development.

Mental Preparation

Sports can be as mentally demanding as they are physically. Talk to your child about setting realistic goals and maintaining a positive attitude. Encourage them to visualize what they see as success and develop strategies for handling pressure and setbacks.

Hydration and Nutrition

Proper hydration is crucial, especially during the hot summer months. Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day, not just during physical activity. A diet high in nutrients will support their training efforts and overall health. Avoid sugary drinks and junk food, which can lead to energy crashes and poor performance.

Schedule a Sports Physical Early

A crucial step in preparing for fall sports is ensuring your child has an up-to-date sport physical. The Minnesota State High School League requires an updated physical every three years. Don't wait until the last minute to schedule an appointment. Most well-child appointments are covered by insurance carriers. Scheduling a well-child appointment with your child's primary care clinician ensures that any health concerns are addressed well before the season starts.

Taking these steps over the summer can set your child up for a fun, healthy, and successful fall sports season. By focusing on physical conditioning, establishing a routine, honing skills, preparing mentally, and ensuring they are medically ready, you'll help your young athlete stay safe, healthy, and enjoy the season.