Although we’re deep into the summer months, fall sports season is just around the corner! If you’re an athlete or the parent of a young athlete, we’re here to bring you some practical tips about safely gearing up for fall sports.
Bryce Gaines, sports medicine supervisor for ATI Physical Therapy, suggests proper conditioning above all else.
“The best thing you can do is keep up your conditioning and stay in shape,” Gaines said. “Many coaches have pre-season training plans so check out your school’s website or talk to your coach to see if there’s a plan you should follow.”
For freshmen students who may be new to a sport, Gaines suggests being able to sustain a solid pace for one to two miles. In addition, athletes should practice push-ups, sit-ups, and other strengthening exercises for 20 or 30 minutes at a time to increase their physical strength.
Gaines also offers these tips to gear up for fall sports:
New athletes must pace themselves. Although new athletes may want to try to keep up with more experienced athletes, it’s important for them to remember to start slowly to prevent injury and overtraining.
Be conscious of overtraining. There is a fine balance between training hard and overtraining, Gaines said. Soreness is one thing, but pain is another. Parents are most familiar with their child’s activity level and should monitor their athlete closely if they fear he or she is trying to do too much.
Don’t try to do too much in a short period of time. If August inches closer and athletes haven’t done a lot of training to that point, they shouldn’t attempt to cram it all in. Trying to do a lot of training in a short period of time will often do more harm than good, Gaines said. Instead, ease your way into activity and take incremental steps when increasing exercise routines.
Avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day. The hottest part of the day tends to be 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., so Gaines suggests exercising before or after that time to avoid any heat-related issues. If you are doing double workouts, the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. time frame is a great amount of time to rest in between workouts, Gaines says.