Three Long-Term Physical Benefits of Youth Sports Participation?

Youth sports have always been a great way to not only keep kids active in an increasingly screen-driven world, but as a way to build confidence, reinforce team work, and foster discipline. While participating in youth sports can be time-consuming, the benefits are vast and meaningful. From improving physical health to gaining lifelong skills, encouraging your children to participate in sports will deliver a host of advantages throughout their lives. Here are three of the biggest long-term physical benefits of youth sports participation.

A Lifelong Pattern of Physical Activity

The physical benefits of youth sports do not end at the final buzzer. Getting your child in athletics at a young age will set them up for a lifetime pattern of physical activity. Once they get into the habit of moving their body every day and working up a sweat, they will find ways to get in their physical activity as they get older. Making exercise a cornerstone of life at a young age will instill a love of physical activity and encourage your children to continue these healthy habits well beyond their playing days.

Improved Health Related to Physical Activity

It is no secret that people who engage in regular physical activity enjoy better overall health. Those children who play sports are more likely to be healthier overall, especially compared to their sedentary peers. Participation in youth athletics boosts cardiovascular health, builds muscles, and encourages flexibility and fine motor skills. Sedentary behaviors such as prolonged sitting has been linked to the development of some health issues. Encouraging your kids to be active through participation on a sports team will pay big dividends for their overall physical health. Participation in athletics has also been shown to improve mental and emotional health, providing for a trifecta of advantages.

Improved Coordination and Balance

Playing sports at a young age provides more than just the obvious physical health benefits. Young athletes also gain a host of coordination and balance skills that help them later down the road. These skills will serve them well as they pursue various physical activities throughout their lives. Good balance is the foundation for many athletic pursuits. Cultivating this at an early age is a good thing for any child. 

Encouraging your child to go after their athletic pursuits and make sports a major part of their life can provide them with many physical and mental benefits. You can set them up for a lifetime of physical health advantages through their participation in youth athletics.


Looking for help for your child to reach their sports goals? Check out our sports performance training options. We help youth athletes get to the next level of their game.

4 Common Sports Injuries That Can Take You Out of the Game

When you play sports, the objective is to have fun and get some exercise — not to get injured. But injuries can and do happen, and some of them can be literal game changers for your athletic future. While we focus on strength and agility training to help prevent injuries at Daniels Sports Performance, we want to educate our athletes and parents on the most common injuries and how to prevent them.

Anterior Collateral Ligament (ACL) Damage

Anterior collateral ligament damage is an injury to one of four ligaments that stabilize your knee. ACL damage is most commonly found in sports such as soccer, football and other sports where the players crash into each other. It can also be caused by running, falling or jumping, so it is also seen in athletes who play basketball or gymnastics.

If given proper care, an ACL injury can take up 12 weeks to heal. If it is severe enough to need surgery, the injury takes between eight and 12 months to fully heal safely. The risk of an ACL injury can be lowered if you strengthen your knee through lower limb strength exercises such as squats. It also helps to wear a brace around your knee while you play sports.

Rotator Cuff Damage

A rotator cuff injury is the result of damage to one or more of the four tendons in the shoulder joint. Symptoms vary and usually prevent an athlete from participating in their sport. This injury can happen if you play sports where you swing your arm over your head repeatedly. These sports include volleyball, swimming, tennis and baseball. A rotator cuff injury that doesn't need surgery can take three to six months to heal. If you need surgery to repair the damage, you won’t be ready to go back to your sport for about a year and a half.

The way to lower the risk of rotator cuff injury is to allow periods of rest between games where you must raise your arm. Also, perform exercises that strengthen your upper body and be sure to warm up before games.

Concussion

Concussions are more likely to occur in contact sports such as rugby or football, or in sports where you’re more at risk for a fall where you strike your head, such as bicycling. You should recover from a mild concussion with a week of rest or until you have no more symptoms. A severe concussion may take several months to recover from. If you’re had one concussion but have another before you’ve recovered from the first, one consequence can be second-impact syndrome, which leads to a dangerous swelling of the brain. Concussions are best prevented by wearing a helmet.

Achilles Tendon Rupture

The rupture of the Achilles tendon happens most often in track and field sports or soccer. This injury often needs surgery to repair, and your recovery may take as long as 10 weeks. It will still be some months before you can return to your sport. Warming up before engaging in a sport can help you avoid this injury.

These four major injuries can affect your ability to play your favorite sport for the long-term. However, if you treat your body right and learn how to move in a way that is safer on your bones, joints, and muscles, you can prevent the majority of injuries.

Daniels Sports Performance provides the next level in sports performance training for athletes of all ages. We offer customized programs to improve speed, strength and agility. Discover your potential by scheduling a FREE assessment with us today!

What Youth Athletes Need to Know About Playing in the Heat

Throughout the summer months, most parts of the country will experience very high temperatures - which is definitely the case for us here in Richmond, Virginia. Consequently, youth athletes and their coaches must always be aware of the dangers of heat stress. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 9,000 high schools reported instances of heat illness among their athletes. Let's discuss a few things you need to know for youth athletes to beat the heat.

Why it Matters

Coaches and trainers have a responsibility to protect youth athletes from heat illness. Therefore, they must be aware of the potential heat-related conditions that can harm a youngster when the heat index rises to an astonishing 106 degrees. This includes knowing the difference between heat fatigue, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Because nobody knows their child better than they do, parents should also be proactive. If you see your child acting in an unusual manner, speak with the coach and get your child cooled down immediately. Catching these issues right away can sometimes have serious implications that should not be ignored. Not treating heat exhaustion correctly can lead to organ failure. And, if it is allowed to transition into a stroke, the implications are even more serious, as it can begin to create swelling in the brain.

Hydration and Breaks

The common belief is that simply drinking sufficient water is enough to avoid heat exhaustion. Cases exist in which athletes recall drinking adequate water but still becoming overcome by the heat. This is due to the improper ways young athletes often take their breaks. Some of them simply run up to the water cooler, take a sip and run back onto the field. A proper break consists of getting entirely away from the sun's rays for a while and resting the legs in order to increase blood flow. A person should place cooling pads around the neck to help bring their temperature down. Anything clothing that is too tight should also be removed, since that can also impede blood from circulating properly.

Being Flexible

Sometimes even with the most conscientious hydration procedure in place, the temperature is simply too much. Therefore, we highly recommend paying close attention to your local weather forecast in order to create alternative practice strategies when it's simply too hot to be outdoors. Often coaches or trainers will dismiss this because they don't want to lose a practice session, but being organized and planning in advance can provide the flexibility needed to both save the practice and take care of the athletes' health.

Ensuring that you or your athletes are taking the proper safety precautions is vital. Safety should be your main priority when practicing or playing in the heat. And, if you are a youth athlete, take time to be aware of the warning signs to prevent more serious issues.

If your athlete or team needs training, we can help! Contact us today for more information.


3 Secrets to Injury Prevention for Youth Athletes

For youth athletes, staying active and participating in sports is an excellent way of developing skills and maintaining physical fitness. However, sometimes spending time on the court or field also increases the risk of injury. Here are a few necessary injury prevention steps that youth athletes can take to protect themselves while competing.

Perform Strength Training

A common misconception is that strength training is not safe for young athletes, but it's proven that strengthening the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles is important to reduce the risk of injury. Pre-teens and teenagers can begin to understand the muscle mechanisms and how to train using proper form. With the supervision of a certified trainer and an adult (like a parent), they can develop proper technique to ensure they protect themselves while strengthening their muscles. The technique that they learn from a trainer is one that they can continue to practice long term as they become more skilled and developed as an athlete.

Prepare Your Body for Your Sport of Choice

Preparing the body for a specific sport can reduce the risk of injuries. Make it a point to warm up by performing both static and dynamic stretching to loosen the muscles before it's time to play. A dynamic warm up routine is a great way to consistently ensure your body is prepared to play each and every time you are ready to practice or compete.

Take Time Off

One of the most important tools for youth athletes to prevent injuries is to take time to rest. Over training or training every day increases the risk of injury. When we rest, we give our bodies the time to repair and grow stronger. Youth athletes should have a training and practice schedule to match the need such as preseason conditioning and weight training vs. in-season maintenance for example with days built in for rest to maximize training benefits.

Although it can often be challenging to avoid injuries altogether while participating in sports, they can become less frequent and severe by following the right tips. It’s important for them to do all they can to educate themselves on how to prevent injuries.


Why Physical Exercise is Vital for Regulating Youth Sleep Patterns

A good night’s sleep for children and teens will allow them to wake up well-rested and prepared to meet any challenge the day presents to them. However, many teens are not receiving the quality of sleep that they need to function at their full capabilities. One way for teens to get better, more quality sleep is to get more exercise throughout their day.

Children and Teens Are Sleep Deprived

Experts slightly disagree on the exact amount of sleep children and teenagers should receive each night. For children, suggestions range from nine to eleven hours. For teenagers, eight to ten hours should be enough. A point that is not debated is that many children and teenagers are chronically sleep-deprived. The fact is, 87 percent of high school students get significantly less sleep than is recommended, leading to impaired cognitive capacity, lower academic performance, and even increased risk of car accidents. For this reason, it is important to take measures to ensure your child or teenager receives the amount of sleep they need.

Physical Exercise Improves Sleep Quality and Quantity

Studies show that physical exercise will cause your child or teenager to go to sleep earlier, sleep for a longer period of time, and reach a deeper level of sleep each night. In one study, one hour of additional exercise caused teenagers to sleep ten minutes longer after falling asleep eighteen minutes earlier than usual. They also experienced sleep that was one percent more efficient than they achieved without the extra hour of exercise. These results proved true for each additional hour of exercise. The same study demonstrated that children and teens who live more sedentary lifestyles experience reduced quality and quantity of sleep. 

Youth in Team Sports Get More Exercise

Participation in youth sports is a great way for children and teenagers to meet their daily exercise requirements. Unfortunately, too many children are not getting the benefits that come with participating in youth sports. 

For example, 2017 statistics show that barely over a quarter of children ages 6–12 participated in a high calorie burning team sport on a regular basis.

The correlation between physical activity and sleep among children and teenagers has been well-documented. However, too many young people do not get the optimal levels of sleep or exercise they need on an ongoing basis.

Quick Tips for Encouraging Better Sleep For Your Child

  1. Limit screen time at least 30 minutes before bed

  2. Make sure their room is cool & dark for sleeping

  3. Ensure at least 30 minutes of daily physical exercise

If you are looking for more ways to keep your child or teen engaged in physical activity year round (even in their off season), we have lots of opportunities to keep them busy with a variety of camps and classes available for boys & girls of all ages.

To get your child involved in an off season training program, check out our Fall Speed Training Program! It’s a great way for your child to increase speed & agility, while also building confidence.