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School Sports & Safety Tips for Kids

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Back-to-school-sports prep

Getting kids ready for school in the fall means a lot more than hitting the school supplies sales. Fall sports often start in August or earlier, so it's important to get things lined up early. If your child doesn't take part in a school sport, early summer is a great time to find a favorite.

Look at Sport Camps: Many communities have recreation departments with strong summer sports programs that include camps to help kids find the sport they love. Camps can be sport-specific or an introduction to several. The camps are usually for the younger set, ranging from 4-10 years old. They can sample as many as five sports in one day to help find what really interests them. Once they've decided, parents should turn the focus to their favorite and select sports camps that build the skill set while encouraging fun.

Safe Coaching and Training: Parents want their kids playing sports in a positive environment that encourages team spirit and fun while teaching the basics. The coach should focus on getting the fundamentals right rather than coaching each game to win. Parents also want coaches to have the proper sports safety training so they can recognize medical concerns and respond accordingly. Perhaps the most important facet of a coach's medical responsibility concerns concussions. Many sports and recreation programs are requiring concussion certification like courses offered by the CDC. Even if it's not required, a coach who is looking out for the kids should take it. Recent advancements in the diagnosing of concussions, and understanding of the dangers involved, make proper training an imperative.

Help Develop Good Habits: Starting a new sport also means learning to take care of the mind and body. Good hydration happens when it's instilled as part of the routine. Proper sports hydration doesn't rely on thirst only. Children have to drink before, during and after to give the body what it needs to keep the muscles working and to help avoid injury. The mind is a critical part of sports enjoyment and needs to be nurtured as well. Kids should learn to have fun, work hard and be good teammates. Nurturing a competitive spirit is fine as long as it's not overboard. Kids should enjoy the sport first, and later they can adopt the will to win. A lifelong love of sport and exercise that includes a healthy outlook should be the goal.

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