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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Game On: Kicking it Into High Gear with Fall Sports
RESTON, VA, July 21, 2011—With three out of four households having at least one child actively involved in fall youth sports, it is time to start coordinating the practices and games, figure out who's bringing the oranges, and get the minivan fired up and ready for action. Whether you're a seasoned veteran soccer mom/baseball dad or the kids are just diving into sports, there many things to consider ensuring a safe and enjoyable season. The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) has some information about why sport participation is so beneficial as well as how to get your kids prepared for the new season.
First of all, give yourself a pat on the back for having your kids participating in sports. Youth sport participation comes with a variety of benefits including the development of life skills, character development, and the prevention of health conditions-we have all heard the buzz on childhood obesity! Aside from the enjoyment of the great outdoors and being active with friends, children can learn teamwork, sportsmanship, responsibility, leadership, respect, time management, emotional control, and dealing effectively with both winning and coming in second best. Valuable social skills are honed as young and old children alike establish and strengthen friendships and healthy competition. Sports can boost confidence and your child's ability to set and attain goals.
"NASPE wants young athletes to enjoy a high level of physical fitness, to feel good about their skills and enjoy physical activity of all kinds, and to have energy and physical stamina," said NASPE President Dennis Docheff, professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, MO.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that students involved in school sports are less likely to smoke, abuse drugs, or drop out of school; AND are more likely to become high academic achievers. What a bonus! Although, burnout can be a big issue with an over-stuffed schedule, keep it all in perspective and make sure the fun component is the most important.
As your child is winding down from the long summer days of lounging by the pool and playing video games, get them in the habit of moving around so their body is ready to rock and roll when the season begins. Encourage them to be outdoors and play with friends. This is also a good time to encourage them to contribute to household chores such as mowing the lawn and cleaning out their closet to get them used to being physically active on a routine basis.
Practice, Practice, Practice, The more practice the better right? If you've got the outdoor space and equipment, encourage your child to get the ball rolling and start strengthening the skills needed to succeed in his or her fall sport. This will build their confidence in their abilities even before the first practice! It is specifically encouraged to have your child play turn-taking games to learn sportsmanship and understand how to share and get along well with teammates and friends. This skill will be beneficial in sport as well as in the classroom.
Recharging the Batteries
All this running around will surely have your child needing some fuel! Keep in mind healthy nutrition and proper hydrating; lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and good old H20 is the way to go. While it is okay to splurge every once in a while on pizza and ice cream, it is recommended to keep a well-stocked pantry and fridge with nutrient-rich snacks: chopped veggies and dip, pita bread and hummus, pretzels, and fresh fruit are a few good staples. Empower your kids to want to treat their body well and grow up strong and active. Developing good habits of activity and health now can lead into a healthy teen-hood and adulthood, promoting a lifetime of wellness, (hopefully carrying into college, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.
To receive a free copy of 101 Tips for Healthy Student-Athletes, send a stamped, self- addressed legal size (#10) envelope to: NASPE/101 Tips for Healthy Student-Athletes, 1900 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191. The brochure is sold in packages of 50 at $25 retail and $15 for AAHPERD members. For bulk purchases of 200+ copies, call 1-800-321-0789. Stock number is 304-10501.
While there are trends showing activity decreasing with age, the good news is that studies have shown that participating in sports can create a lifetime enjoyment of activity; this can protect your child from a potentially sedentary lifestyle and eventual health problems.
Some closing logistical advice is to make sure your child is ready and willing to play, get all the necessary paperwork, see your family doctor for an up-to-date physical exam, and line up a proper pick-up and drop-off schedule. Lastly, stay supportive, positive, and never forget who it's all about: your spectacular kids of course!For more information on "Choosing the Right Sport or Physical Activity Program for Your Child" read NASPE's youth sport position statement.