Children and High School Athletics

by Tom Seman MD FAAP | July 23rd, 2014 | Children's, Fitness Expert



We have seen the child grow from a child who was little more than a toddler and has grown to finish middle school. Now ready to try his hand at high school sports the teenager has to prove himself not only to himself and coach, but to the upper class-men, and show that he is ready to take them on. This usually starts prior to the first day at school when the students have preseason training which starts getting the students prepared and gives the coaches a chance to evaluate the students’ drive and abilities.

During the late summer, the student is often subjected to double sessions during some of summer’s hottest days. The child, along with his potential teammates, strive to be the best and most notable, push themselves without necessarily being properly prepared. This increases the teen’s chance of early season injuries which, as previously mentioned last month, he will try to ignore so as to not be sidelined too soon. Coaches need to be aware of all minor injuries or any changes in his movements. Rather, the coach should make sure that the child and the rest of those trying out for the team are showing their best without maximizing them out. Preseason is the beginning of training and not the time to be cutting members from the team.

Frequently, this is the time when the child starts to consider adding supplements and various other different ways of maximizing and accelerating his development. Without a lot of training and education, the teenager tries to do this mostly on his own or with the help of an often older teen such as an upper class-man “mentor” or older sibling / relative. Rarely is a well-trained adult involved with this phase of training. At this age a child expects near instant results despite anything that has been told to him. This increases frustration and often has the child trying to push results by working out harder, taking more of the supplement and trusting everything that he reads on line or hears from his mentors. Most of these are fairly expensive, can be dangerous if not taken according to the instructions and will often increase water intake to be properly metabolized. With the increased activity the teens water intake is already increased. Promoting proper hydration by the coaches and any trainers present is highly important. Resting between activities and proper eating and sleeping is also very important.

The teen often takes his cues from his parents who, if the child has talent, may look upon this talent as a means of  helping to fund his future college tuition by way of obtaining a scholarship. A parents love and support should always be there but as a parent we must be careful with how we promote our child’s sports career. We should want our child to perform at his best at all times but we must be realistic and not make our child feel as if he has to push himself harder than he can. His goal, although they may include future college and even potentially pro dreams, is to be the best, the star recognized by the entire student body.

Cheer on your child and be there for all of his or her games that you can possibly attend. Let them know that they are always the stars of the game in your eyes.

Stay healthy and enjoy these warm summer days.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.