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Back-to-School Tips for Sports Parents
It's back-to-school time! As we all know, fall sports are in full swing by now and adding school into the mix is hard, whether your athletes are in high school or grade school. It will take about three weeks for your athletes to adjust to going to school all day and then going to practice/games at least a few times a week. Those first few weeks will be tough, but the kids will adapt.
As a parent, you can help by:
1. Make sure your athlete goes to bed at a reasonable time. Summer schedules can be lax, so it’s time to recalibrate the sleep schedules.
2. Make sure your athletes are adequately fueled. Long school days mean less opportunity for snacking. Make sure if they are staying at school for practice to pack a balanced snack to eat prior to practice.
3. Communicate with teachers! If your athlete needs to miss class, make sure teachers are aware in advanced. It is a great time for all ages to learn time management skills. Athletes need to take advantage of study halls and extra class times to get a jumpstart on homework.
4. Allow for downtime. Be sure not to completely over-schedule your athlete. Make sure there is time to read, play, and just chill.
As a coach, you can help by:
1. Be aware of the transition that your athletes are dealing with. Just acknowledging the new schedule will go a long way.
2. Take a few minutes to communicate with your athletes. Start practice with a quick meeting. Ask them how their day was, it will help them change gears and facilitate the coach athlete bond.
3. Stress the importance of school! Remind your athletes school comes first. Allow time for help with school work if needed. As the school year goes on they will find their stride and learn to manage the homework/practice balance.
4. Adjust the practice intensity. Know your athletes and know the signs of fatigue. The first few weeks of school you may need to adjust the intensity and repetitions a bit.
De-stress your Morning
There are numerous ways to make the a.m. less hectic and get everyone out the door on time. A lot of people say "Just leave earlier," easier said than done for some.
- Write out your schedule. Sounds constricting, I know, but there are already specific times you have to be places. Put a 'load the car' time on the schedule too. Writing down both allows to you see them, therefore, remembering how long it takes to get from one place to another.
- Layout clothes the night before, yours and the kids. It will cut down on arguments in the mornings. Let the kids help at night. That way, if it takes half an hour for them to pick out shoes, it doesn't derail your morning.
- Pack backpacks, lunches, and snacks the night before. If you have room in the fridge, prep everything on Sunday. Have your coffee prepped. Well-fed, hydrated athletes not only perform better on the athletic field but also in the classroom.
- Carry a refillable water bottle. Drink water all day, even if not thirsty or if it's not hot. Just being 2% dehydrated can affect your athletes.
- Eat breakfast. Carbohydrates and proteins will keep you fuller longer. Eggs, whole wheat toast, Greek yogurt, and smoothies are some suggestions.
- Snacks for after school. Nuts and dried fruit are great because they are easily transported. Apples and bananas with peanut butter are also great.
Your local SSM Health Cardinal Glennon SportsCare Outreach Liaison is a great resource for keeping our young athletes and students safe. They will be able to treat and help facilitate a referral to a physician if necessary. You can reach your local representative at 314-577-5640 or by visiting http://www.cardinalglennon.com/sportscare.
Amanda Sullivan, MS, ATC, LAT
Outreach Liaison – Cardinal Glennon SportsCare
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital
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