Nutrition and recovery are critical aspects of long-term athletic development that are often overlooked. As the physical demands of sport increase with age and competitive level, it’s important that we take a few simple steps to keep our athletes healthy, happy and recovered! With just a few basic guidelines we can make a significant impact on our children’s health, and athletic future. Here are some things to think about.
Nutrition: Eat real food, all day. The majority of athletes, particularly at the high school level simply need to eat more food, and real food. Along with at least three balanced meals a day, athletes should also be eating around their workout or practice. Having some chocolate milk, or a granola bar directly after a workout, or even before, is a critical step in starting the recovery process.
Sleep: Our kids need 8 hours, minimum. During periods of hard training, they probably need more. At least 8, and catching up on weekends doesn’t work. It needs to be consistent and on a regular basis.
Soft Tissue: It’s important that athletes develop a consistent routine of total body foam rolling and soft tissue work. This goes a long way in keeping muscles and joints healthy and strong to avoid injuries!
Offseason: Every sport needs and off-season. A 10 year old should not play the same sport 12 months out of the year, unless we want them to quit in high school. Multi-sport athletes, with appropriate off-seasons are set up for long term success.
Taking these steps to encourage recovery and reduce overuse and burnout can make a significant positive impact on an athletes long term development. Remember that 8 and 12 year-olds are not professional athletes, therefore they should not be treated like one. Youth sports should first be fun, playing multiple sports, and most of all athletes want to be supported by their parents and coaches.
Information from Parisi Speed School - https://www.parisischool.com/4-tips-better-athlete-recovery/