Parenting is hard in today’s society for many reasons, but especially in the athletic world. There is a level of competition and expectation from a very young age which we have to try our best to guide our children through with as much grace and balance as possible. We need to foster their passions and talents while remembering they are young and should be having fun, all while we teach them to have the drive and self-motivation which gives them a competitive edge. Keep in mind that there comes a time when pushing is needed, and there is also a time to let them give in, knowing enough is enough.
I don’t have all the answers, by any means, not to mention each child is completely different; but I want to share just a few simple things that can be done at home which can make a big difference.
The most important thing for your child’s performance is proper nutrition. Now, nutrition is important for us all, but especially children and adolescents as their bodies are growing, developing and learning every day. However, it intensifies when you throw in a very active athletic lifestyle. Your athlete’s performance is dependent upon the fuel their body receives through proper nutrition. They can have the best trainers, coaches, and equipment in the world, but if they are not putting the right foods at the right times in their body, it will NEVER fully benefit them.
Kids are kids; they want junk food, I know, but start to teach them by example. Cook healthy family dinners and pack them nutritious lunches. When they ask for a snack, make it beneficial to what they are about to do, especially if they are headed to practice or a game. Keep the junk to a minimum. Yes, they deserve the fun stuff filled with sugar on occasion, but make it a treat; don’t make it easily accessible in the house -- especially with the increasing amount of time we are home now; they will choose it every time.
Make green vegetables and spinach something they eat daily, give them good healthy fats, and fill them with lean proteins and a balance of simple and complex carbohydrates. Most of all, pull the carbonated beverages OUT completely. Make bottles of water and/or water bottles something that are easy to grab and drink all day every day. Sports drinks are okay in the height of activity but water, water, and more water all other times. And once again, I say, cut out the refined sugar!
Each child is different, and depending on their personal goals, sport, and training level, their nutritional requirements to perform at their best will vary. No matter the age of our children, we want them to be successful, but most of all we want them healthy and safe. Proper nutrition and training techniques are vital to achieving all of this. Make sure the guidance your athlete is receiving on and off the field and/or court is well educated and consistent.
For more information regarding a personalized sports nutrition plan for your athlete contact me at Prime Performance Training.
By: Nick Thomas
owner of Prime Performance Training, and Certified Sports Nutritionist