3 ways to help your Sports Performance athlete.
Sports Performance athletes here at OC begin by having a consultation where we discuss the goals of the athlete, discuss previous obstacles, and make a plan moving forward. One of the most common questions parents ask is “how can I help my child more?”. The answer isn’t something groundbreaking, instead it is focusing more on the basics.
What are the three Basics things you can do to help your Sports Performance athlete?
Sleep, Nutrition, Support/Discipline are the three basics things parents can provide to help their athletes.
First, ensure they get 8 hours of sleep nightly. There is nothing more important to an athlete than proper rest. We have written about sleep, here and here. Sleep is the number one most important aspect of an athlete’s life. Sleep can be improved and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make it happen.
What we suggest to improve sleep and sleep quality:
- Sleep in a cool dark room (the darker the better)
- Have some kind of white noise in the room – (fan for example)
- Spend 8 hours + in bed every night.
- Have a consistent bedtime routine that includes getting off the phone(electronics in general) an hour before bed.
The second most important thing to do for your Sports Performance athlete is helping them eat enough calories. Most SP athletes we meet with to discuss nutrition are chronically underfed. A lot of the athletes are training 1-2 hours in the gym a day, and spending at least that amount of time on the field, or court, practicing for their respective sport. These activities are huge caloric expenditures. Here are a few things to ensure your athlete is getting fed properly to help them stay healthy and have success in their sport.
- Eat breakfast and have it be real food. Breakfast itself isn’t more important than other meals, but it is key to starting a great habit of starting the day without being in a caloric deficit. When mentioning real food, think of protein, carbohydrate, and fat in this meal. What doesn’t work as well is eating a bowl of sugar filled cereal.
- Pack a snack daily, and/or have healthy foods readily available to ensure your athlete isn’t going long periods of time without food. Apples, turkey, and almond butter work well, but so does yogurt, berries and granola.
- Get enough protein. The most common shortage we see in athletes’ diet is protein. Protein is the building block of creating strong, healthy, and injury resistant muscle. Suggestions for protein range from 75% to 100% of body weight in grams of protein a day. (For example, a 200lb athlete might seek 150 to 200 grams of protein per day).
The third and final thing that you can do to help your Sports Performance athletes today is helping them have structure.
When we talk about structure, we are referring to the fact that most successful athletes. The succussful ones that are taught, or by their own accord, have a high level of self discipline. This discipline ensures the athlete is being held accountable. In middle school and high school athletes are building the foundation for the rest of their lives. This means that the habits they build now carry with them for the rest of their lives. These are 3 things that you can do to help you athlete be held accountable:
- Hold your athlete accountable for their actions. Everyone, no matter the age, makes mistakes, but instead of covering up or over protecting your child, let them deal with the consequences of their actions/decisions.
- Don’t hold your athlete back from training or building discipline into their lives. The best athletes we train visit the gym 5-6x a week in the offseason and 3-4x a week while in season. Enabling your athlete to make excuses to not maintain their consistent training isn’t going to help them. Instead, it shows them they don’t need to prioritize their time, or that when things get difficult it is okay to do less than what is needed.
- Teach your athlete to have the difficult conversations needed to be successful as an athlete and later on in life as an adult. If your athlete isn’t getting the playing time you think that they should be getting, empower your athlete to talk to the coach & inquire what they can do to earn more playing time. Teaching them at a young age to ask these types of questions and learning to digest their coaches’ feedback will help them tremendously as they progress in their lives.
Help your Sports Performance athlete!
When it comes to helping your athlete it is important to not skip over the “easy” things. Structure will turn into habits. Helping your athlete get more sleep, eat high quality foods (and more of them), and finally providing structure and discipline to your athlete will go a long way to helping them maximize their athletic potential.