Even though it seems as though summer has just begun, the sad fact of the matter (for kids, anyway…maybe not so “sad” for their parents) is that those first days of school – and all the ones that follow – are just around the corner. For older kids – junior and senior high ages – this may mean that thinking about fall sports tryouts, continuing on with their summer conditioning, and maybe even thinking about attending a few slightly more intensive day/residential camps to hone their skills in a specific area.
However, there are some things that need to be considered prior to the start of fall sports. The following list of “to do’s” and things to keep in mind as fall gradually approaches is courtesy of Dartmouth’s Children’s Hospital and Sports Medicine Team.
- Start early and set goals. Obviously, this holds true for everyone, regardless of age. The earlier you start preparing the easier your transition into the season will be. Thinking that you can “wing it” and simply jump in at the last minute can be a recipe for disaster. Make sure that you’re setting specific (and realistic) goals for each week during the off-season to ensure that you’re at your peak in terms of your own personal best. This means that, if you want to train for cross country, for example, come up with a plan for both daily and weekly running goals, increasing your distances slowly and steadily so as to not cause any sort of overuse injury that could potentially sideline you for the actual competitive season.
- Visit with your doctor AND your school/team trainer. Most kids get annual physicals to begin with, and these are great times to discuss sports and training with your child’s pediatrician or family care provider. If any weaknesses, deficiencies, or concerns are identified, they can be addressed before becoming an “issue”. Along those same lines, getting to know your school or team athletic trainer is a great way to learn about all the different methods of strengthening and conditioning that are available so that you can reach your goals efficiently AND safely. Trainers and coaches can also help develop balanced workout plans that include a variety of exercises that both match the demands of the particular sport in question AND challenge a range of different muscle groups in the body.
If any concerns or underlying musculoskeletal issues or injuries are identified, a visit to an orthopaedic specialist might be your next step, which is where Prairie Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery comes into play. We have a staff of highly trained providers and physical therapists who are committed to helping keep all of our patients (athletes or not) at their own personal best in terms of health and fitness.
Join us next time for a few more tips on how to make that back-to-school (sports) transition as easy as possible!