Monday, March 31, 2014

How to Encourage Your Kid to Stick with a Sport

For kids growing up these days there’s a countless number of activities and sports available for them to participate in. After school programs and organized sports are beneficial to the youth as it gives them an opportunity to develop a skill or interest in a hobby or sport, helps build self-confidence and instills values such as teamwork and determination. But in today’s uber-competitive environment, athletes as young as 13 years old are receiving college commitments and joining travel teams that force kids to focus on a single sport in hopes of receiving a college scholarship or going pro. 

Let’s face it, the chances of your child becoming the next Lionel Messi or Lebron James is very small. Pressuring your kid into continuing a sport they do not enjoy is not always best but you don’t want your kid to become a lifelong quitter. Below we highlight two major reasons kids often want to quit a sport and suggest reasons for them to stick with it throughout the season.

“I can’t do it. I stink!”

One of the most common reasons a child to wants to stop a sport is they feel they lack the skill required to excel or contribute to the team. It’s never fun to be the last player picked for a game or have difficulty understanding the sport’s concept. Parents, if your kid is having a hard time learning the game or improving, it’s important to practice empathy.

Instead of challenging your kid, let them know not everything is mastered on the first try and, with hard work and determination, they will improve. Rather than focusing on the stats or minutes played, ask what they like about the sport and share a personal story about when you yourself had difficulty with a particular task.

Did your child meet new friends or learn the values of teamwork as a member of the sports team? Focusing on the positives can help kids see the benefits of participation they otherwise may have overlooked.

Pressure to Perform

If you’re a parent who believes your kid will become a professional athlete we caution you about the dangers of placing undue pressure on your child. Participation in youth athletics can do so much good and teach your child lifelong lessons but parents often fail to realize their own egos can get in the way of this.

Avoid being one of those “sideline yellers”, openly questioning the coach or players. Even if you don’t realize it, you are placing pressure on your kid and their team, which can turn a fun afternoon game into a seemingly life-or-death contest. Take a deep breath and remember it’s all just a game!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Most Common Tennis Injuries

Tennis is a demanding sport. Between constant pivoting, explosive sprinting, and quick side stepping, few other sports require the same level of agility as tennis. Now consider the intense focus and coordination needed to return serves at 100+ mile per hour while maintaining that agility.

Unfortunately achieving these physical feats also means tennis players are prone to certain injuries. The most common tennis injuries include injuries to the lower extremities, but of course “tennis elbow” was also given its name for a reason. Read on for the most common tennis injuries to look out for.

1. Tennis Elbow

Many studies have been performed to determine the rates of various injuries among tennis players and upper extremity injuries are always cited as one of the most common injuries. Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is the inflammation of the lateral epicondyle tendon in the elbow and occurs from overuse of the joint. Despite tennis elbow’s name, it is relatively uncommon among tennis players who use proper form in their swing, but it’s something that beginners should be aware of so that they can prevent it, as it can become chronic.

2. Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Similar to tennis elbow, rotator cuff tendonitis forms through the overuse of the joint resulting in inflammation. Serving is often the culprit when it comes to rotator cuff tendonitis, since an overhead racket swing requires more shoulder power than a standard tennis swing. This is also typically a flaw in technique, which can be resolved through proper coaching.

3. Ankle Sprain

The quick pivoting required for playing tennis doesn’t come without the occasional price. Ankle sprains are a very common injury among tennis players. When the ankle is sprained, ligaments in the ankle are torn or partially torn. There are varying degrees of ankle sprains with most requiring only rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). More serious injuries may require a walking boot or crutches for a couple weeks if it’s too painful to walk on. A high ankle sprain is more serious and usually requires these extra steps.

4. Knee Tendonitis

Serving a tennis ball is a demanding action, with the fastest serve of all time clocking in at 163.7 MPH by Samuel Groth. A lot of serving power is generated in the legs and this can put considerable stress on the knees when jumping during a serve, particularly on the patella, or knee cap. This is another injury that’s best treated with RICE, and can also be prevented with knee strengthening exercises.

Even though these are the most common injuries found in tennis, tennis players, like any athlete, are subject to any type of injury on the court including fractures, ACL tears, back sprains and more. It’s always important to warm up properly and use proper technique to prevent injuries from occurring.

MMAR Medical carries a wide selection of tennis braces for patella injuries, tennis elbow complications, ankle sprains and more. Visit our store or contact us to learn more about our sports injury solutions.

Monday, March 3, 2014

What To Eat Before & After Swim Meets

Preparations for the season’s biggest swim meet begins many months before you hit the pool on competition day but failing to properly fuel your body in the days leading up to race day can wreak havoc on your performance.  The success of a swim season usually hinges on your performance at one championship meet; perform at your peak and know you did your best time by fueling your body with the right foods before, during and after a swim meet.

Before the Meet

The foods you consume the day before an event is the fuel your body will use on race day. Avoid junk foods and foods high in sugar like desserts, sodas and candy.  The day before a meet, eat meals that have a high carbohydrate and protein content. Foods like pasta, breads, pretzels, potatoes, vegetables, rice, and corn all contain complex carbs that will stick with  you on race day. Eat a complete meal but do not overeat. Eat familiar foods your body is used to digesting. Some spicy foods will make people bloated and gassy; stay away from beans and curries unless you usually eat them. Remember to get a good night’s sleep before race day and stay hydrated.

Race Day Diet Tips

When you wake up on race day your stomach may be full of butterflies as you anticipate the race. Eating a light, well-rounded breakfast is a must on race day -even if you are not hungry. Breakfast items that can be easily digested into energy are a must and include: fruit, toast, cereal with milk, oatmeal, Greek yogurt and protein shakes. Stay away from simple sugars as their energy will not sustain you during your races.

Even the shortest swim meets take several hours to finish so it’s best to pack snacks to eat between your races. Again, stick to foods with complex carbs and protein. Nutrition bars, nuts, fruits, deli meats, cheese sticks and sport drinks will help to replenish your energy stores as you recover from race to race. You never want to swim on an empty stomach or a completely full stomach. Experiment with different healthy snack foods to find the ones that you like eating pre-race that don’t weigh you down.

Recovering After the Meet

When you are finished racing and hopefully have posted a personal best time, you need to consume food to help muscles recover. Soon after the meet has finished, replenish your body with water, protein and high carbohydrate foods. A peanut butter sandwich is perfect.  Even though you can’t see it in the pool, high temperatures, humidity and strenuous activity all cause your body to lose water through sweating, yes, even swimmers! Drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate.

Swimmers are known for strenuous training regimens required to perform at their personal peak. Don’t throw away months of hard work by being oblivious to proper swim meet nutrition. By putting the right fuel in your body you can achieve your season’s goals!