Tips to improve kids’ stamina in sport
With a generation of children addicted to more stationary pastimes such as watching YouTube shorts or playing video games, it’s not surprising to learn that overall stamina for sport is diminishing.
However with access to improved diets and plenty of choice for activities, we can help as parents to reverse this negative trend.
Encouraging your child to be active and raise their heart rate (if medically safe to do so) for just 30 minutes every day goes a long way to improving your child’s stamina.
Improving stamina for sport such as football or rugby involves a combination of physical training, nutrition, rest and overall adopting healthy habits. These positive habits will help your children into young adulthood as well, when there are far more distractions to get in their way!
Here are some top tips to help:
- Balanced Diet: Encourage a well-rounded, nutritious diet that includes a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Proper nutrition fuels energy levels and aids in recovery. Follow @thefoodiefootballer on Instagram for some great meal and snack ideas.
- Proper Rest and Recovery: Ensure kids get adequate sleep and rest to allow their bodies to recover and rebuild. Recovery is crucial for stamina improvement. During sleep, the body repairs and rejuvenates tissues, muscles, and bones. Quality sleep positively impacts reaction time, speed, accuracy, and overall performance during sports, enhancing a child's ability to learn and master new skills. According to the sleepfoundation.org young children aged 3-5 years need 10–13 hours (including naps) and school age kids aged 6-12 years need 9-12 hours.
- Aerobic Exercise and Conditioning: Incorporate aerobic exercises like running, jogging, jumping jacks, and skipping ropes into their training routine. Aerobic workouts improve cardiovascular endurance and stamina.
- Interval Training: Implement interval training sessions with alternating periods of intense activity and periods of rest or lower intensity. This helps improve both endurance and speed. If you make this fun, your child is more likely to get involved.
- Sprint Training: Include sprint drills to boost speed and stamina. Short bursts of sprinting mimic the stop-and-start nature of football, improving the ability to perform high-intensity actions during a match.
- Endurance-Building Drills: Plan endurance-focused drills such as shuttle runs, timed laps, and circuit training. These drills help kids build up their endurance over time.
- Hydration: Emphasise the importance of staying hydrated before, during, and after practices and matches. Dehydration can significantly affect stamina and performance. Always take a named water bottle to training and matches. Normal water is much better than any sugary fizzy drinks they might be craving!
- Consistent Training Schedule: Establish a consistent training schedule that includes regular football practice, fitness sessions, and rest days. Consistency is key to building stamina but those all important sofa days are good too.
- Flexibility and Mobility Exercises: Incorporate stretching and mobility exercises into the routine to enhance flexibility and reduce the risk of injury, which can impact stamina. Try doing these with your child because adults tend to forget to stretch themselves!
- Mental Conditioning: Teach mental strategies like visualisation, breathing techniques, and positive reinforcement to help kids stay focused, maintain confidence, and endure challenges during a game. There are loads of free Apps and YouTube videos, for example Belly Breathing Mindfulness for children, you can watch to help.
- Gradual Progression: Progress training gradually to avoid burnout or overexertion. Slowly increase the intensity and duration of workouts to build stamina effectively.
- Active Lifestyle: Encourage an active lifestyle beyond football training, such as biking, hiking, swimming or simply walking the dog. This helps maintain overall fitness and contributes to improved stamina.
- Game Simulation: Incorporate match simulations in practice to mimic game conditions. This helps kids adapt to the demands of a real football match and improves their endurance accordingly.
- Encourage Fun and Enjoyment: Foster a positive and enjoyable environment for kids to develop their love for the game. When they have fun, they are more likely to stay motivated and committed to improving their stamina.
- Monitor Progress: Keep track of your kid’s progress and performance on and off the pitch. Try to regularly acknowledge their achievements and even set incremental goals, motivating them to continue working on their stamina.
Watch this space for our guest blog ‘coming soon’ which gives top tips for quality sleep for our kids.
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