Nothing ruins a youth sports season like an injury. Missing games or sitting on the sidelines is decidedly less fun than being on the field. Fortunately, there are a number of preventative measures that young athletes can take to reduce the risk of injury. To help you stay happy and healthy, Rocky Top Sports World has put together seven helpful tips for preventing youth sports injuries.
1. Make Sure Your Equipment is Up to Par
Faulty or ill-fitting equipment can be a major safety hazard for young athletes. Shoes that are too loose or worn down can lead to tripping, and poor quality pads or guards can make athletes vulnerable to injury. Before each game or practice, quickly check to make sure that all of your equipment is in good condition.
2. Remember to Warm Up and Stretch
It is very important that young athletes take the time to warm up and stretch before doing any serious exercise. Spending five to ten minutes on a low-impact activity, such as jogging, will increase your heart rate, get your blood flowing, and make your body more resistant to injuries. After you’ve warmed up, follow up with some stretching to release tension in your muscles.
3. Stay Hydrated
Being dehydrated can cause a variety of problems for athletes, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. The solution, of course, is to drink plenty of fluids when you play sports. For exercise that lasts less than an hour, stick to drinking water, but for longer activities, athletes should also drink a sports drink, like Gatorade.
4. Cool Down After the Game
Just as a warm up prepares your body for intense exercise, a cool down helps your body transition back to its normal temperature and heart rate. If you flop down in a chair immediately after a game, you may start to feel faint or dizzy. Instead, cool down with five to ten minutes of low-intensity exercise and stretching.
5. Schedule Time to Rest
Experts recommend that young athletes take at least one or two days off per week from the same sport. Otherwise, they run the risk of sustaining overuse injuries. Of course, it is also important to take enough breaks during games and practice sessions.
6. Speak Up if You’re Injured
While some athletes promote the idea of “playing through the pain”, this only makes injuries worse. If you’re feeling pain or discomfort, let your coach know as soon as possible. It is much better to miss the rest of a game in order to get immediate attention for a minor injury than to be sidelined with a major injury for the rest of the season.
7. Don’t Go from Zero to Sixty When Training
As you put together a training regimen, make sure that you are not doing too much too fast. A dramatic change in your workout can lead to serious injury. Instead, try to follow what experts call the “10 percent rule”: don’t increase the intensity of your workout by more than 10 percent in one session. This applies to how long you exercise, how many miles you run, how much weight you lift, and any other activities featured in your workout.
About Rocky Top Sports World
Located just a short drive from downtown Gatlinburg, TN, Rocky Top Sports World is the ultimate tournament destination. Featuring seven fields, six basketball courts, 12 volleyball courts, team rooms, and an onsite grill, our athletic campus has everything you need for an amazing sports event. To see a complete listing of our upcoming tournaments and camps, check out the Rocky Top Sports World Events Calendar!