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Pre-Game Nutrition Tips for Youth Athletes

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Any sports parent knows that the right food can make or break their player's performance! A hungry athlete is an energy-less athlete and it's impossible for them to play their best if their body doesn't have the fuel it needs in order to perform! But just because you fed your child on the way to the game (we've all done the drive-thru run) that doesn't mean they are actually in tip-top shape. Being full isn't the same thing as being 100% ready to play!

Why Confidence is So Important in Youth Sports

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A lot of things go into making someone a great athlete. They need at least a little natural talent, be willing to learn and put in the hard work that pushes them to the next level, know how to take a loss on the cheek and keep on trucking, stay focused and committed even when they are tired and lots more. Plenty of parents and coaches look for the "secret" to turning a kid into an athletic superstar, and while there is no one "right way" to help a child become a solid youth athlete (and maybe beyond) it's fair to say that confidence plays a big part in the overall process! If a child doesn't believe in themselves no amount of outside work will matter!

Why Mental Strength Matters for Youth Athletes

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In order to be successful in the long run, youth athletes need to be both physically AND mentally strong. Obviously being a top athlete means being in top physical condition (which varies based on the sport), but being strong mentally is essential to a long and prosperous athletic career.

Even if Your Child Loves to Play, Should They Play All Year-Round?

Multisport Hands In

Earlier this year ESPN ran a story showing that most kids playing sports do love playing...but is loving the game enough to justify the year-round play (and possible consequences) that comes with high-pressure travel teams?

3 Tips for Preventing Heat Illness Among Athletes

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Summer is in full swing, and with temperatures easily climbing into the 80s and 90s youth athletes are certainly feeling the heat! A study by Andrew J. Grundstein, an associate professor in the department of geography at the University of Georgia, found that 123 high school football players died of heat-related illnesses between 1960 and 2009. While every death is heart-breaking, what's even more frustrating that all of those deaths were totally preventable. Heat illnesses including cramps, exhaustion, and even heat stroke are completely preventable and treatable given parents and coaches keep an eye on their players for the signs and symptoms and immediately give them time to cool down if it looks like an athlete is in rough shape.

The Importance of Casual Play

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From one generation to the next youth sports has changed dramatically. When we (meaning current sports parents) were young, sports was something you did in the summer because your parents wanted you outside. Maybe you played sports in high school, but you might have played a different sport in the fall and in the spring, not just one sport all year round. Or you didn't belong to any "real" team, but you played pickup games with the neighborhood kids every weekend. But in recent years youth sports has changed dramatically. Even those who are against early specialization can't argue that more and more kids are playing one sport all year round, are getting onto more high-powered (and costly) travel teams, and getting very serious about their athletic career at a younger and younger age.

Carbohydrates AND Protein: A Youth Athlete Needs Both to Succeed

Carbohydrates AND Protein: A Youth Athlete Needs Both to Succeed

Let's be honest. Getting kids to eat a well-balanced meal three times a day sometimes take nothing less than a miracle, especially if your child is a picky eater or you're constantly running from activity to activity and don't have time for a sit-down meal. But youth athletes need a healthy diet in order to perform at the top of their game. And that means finding the right balance between carbohydrates AND protein.

The Risk of ACL Injury Among Female Athletes

The Risk of ACL Injury Among Female Athletes

Approximately 80% of ACL tears occur without any physical contact with another player. Instead, the tear happens when a player lands from a jump, decelerating suddenly, or quickly changing direction. Since these actions are so common in soccer and basketball, it's those players that are the most at-risk. And female athletes have the greatest risk of ACL injuries, with rates 4 to 6 times as high as for their male counterparts in the same sports. While ACL injuries are uncommon among younger players, the rate starts to pick up once girls turn 12.

SportsSignup Interviews Chrissy Barth, founder and CEO of Live.Breathe.Nutrition., LLC

Chrissy Barth

Chrissy Barth, MS, RD, BHT, RYT, is a registered dietitian, yoga teacher and communications expert in the field of holistic nutrition who is passionate about teaching others about optimal health and performance by taking the confusion out of nutrition. She is the founder and CEO of Live.Breathe.Nutrition., LLC, a nutrition coaching and consulting practice in Phoenix, Arizona, where she serves as a nutrition consultant to the Arizona Cardinals.

Helping Your Youth Athlete Mentally Recover from a Serious Injury

Helping Your Youth Athlete Mentally Recover from a Serious Injury

Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injuries. Obviously some of these are relatively minor--things like sprained ankles and jammed fingers are definitely no fun and can be painful, but they aren't typically season-ending or life-threatening. The recovery process might be a few days or a few weeks and youth athletes are back on their feet like nothing ever happened. But other injuries, like a torn ACL, can take months to physically recoup from. But even as they physically recover from a serious injury an athlete's mental health also needs attention.

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