Baseball Moms, Here’s a Quick Guide for Helping Your Little Athlete Shine On & Off the Field
So happy to share my best practices for helping your kiddo play hard and live well!
I’m a baseball mom. Never thought I’d say that with a smile, but I cherish every minute of it. I’ve spent more time than I can recall at ballparks, watching both of my boys compete in a game they love. I’ve also developed a ton of best practices to help them play their best. Some of the tips I will share here are just things we’d be doing anyway, but coincidentally also have a positive impact on their athleticism and results on the field. That’s the great thing about making healthy lifestyle choices. You can accomplish specific goals while also improving your overall health and happiness in the process. So here we go, baseball moms…it’s going down for real!
My guys...5 years of baseball and counting!
Here’s the thing. Coaches are awesome. And they play an enormously important role. We've been lucky enough to be blessed with some amazing coaches over the years who have also become friends. Coaches will tell you, there is a distinct difference between their jobs and a parent's job. (And they'll beg you to remember that during games, ha!) So while coaching from the bench is frowned upon for parents...we can channel our enthusiasm for our little athletes success and our desire to help them excel into outlets that are within our realm of control AND can play as much of a part in their success on the field as a few key adjustments to their batting stance.
As parents, we are making all of the decisions in the home about food, fitness and other health-related issues. We’re the ones packing food for games, getting dinner on the table before/after practice, and patching up kids when they get hurt. We decide how much screen time our kids get and how much physical activity is built into their day. As a result, we have the ability to not only help our kids make healthier choices, but we can actually improve their performance on the field. If we want to assist our kids (and their coaches) this is a very real way can do that.
Before we dig in, let me also point out that I fully realize we are talking about youth sports. I don't expect my kids to win every game. I'm not overly concerned with where they bat in the line up or what position they play. I'm not suggesting we become obsessive about our kids' athletic performance. I'm simply suggesting that some of these tips for healthy living will also enhance their time on the field and that's another happy coincidence of positive lifestyle changes in our homes.
COACHES ALWAYS HAVE A GAME PLAN.
A GAME DAY FOOD PLAN IS CRITICAL TOO.
Ok, let's start our tips with game day and work our way backward. There you are again. Tournament time. Multiple games, long breaks in between, hours at the park without the conveniences of home. If you want your player to fight hard all day, you have to fuel them up right. Please don’t leave yourself at the mercy of the concession stand or the close fast food restaurant. I’ve seen lots of snicker bars, hamburgers and nachos make the rounds in the dugout. Sometimes it might not be obvious how much the wrong food can impact performance, but I promise you that loads of sugar, food dye and processed foods that sit heavy, digest poorly and have zero nutritional value will slow your child down, sap their energy after the first 30 minute spike and set them up for a crash, possibly at the worst time (with the game on the line).
A few good choices and some simple prep before you head out for the park can be game changing. We always have a stockpile of healthy eats. If the tournament organizers try to stop you from bringing in coolers (most won't), you can get around it by letting them know you have packed specific foods that are needed for your family's dietary restrictions. Only once have they refused to allow me to bring in my cooler and in that case I had to make a few trips back and forth to the car, which isn’t the worst thing in the world (and hey, you get some extra steps in for the day as well!!!).
Here’s a typical checklist for our tournament cooler:
You can even mix in a few packaged goods, such as Kind Bars or chips (our older son loves his Nacho Kale Chips). Our younger son will get a quick hit from a GoGo Squeeze (applesauce).
The bottom line is this. Getting nutrient dense snacks in that tummy throughout a day of ball can supercharge your kiddo and help with strength, stamina and focus. You will also be less likely to endure a sugar crash or a sudden onset of HANGRY.
GLOVES AREN’T THE ONLY THINGS THAT
BENEFIT FROM GETTING OILED UP.
We’ve found lots of great applications for essential oils to keep our kiddos happy and healthy on the field. Baseball can be physically and mentally exhausting, and the opportunities for bumps, bruises, minor injuries and emotional distractions are everywhere. Here are a few popular combinations that will have you ready for a day at the park.
Deep Blue – Hit up those sore arms, legs and backs with this natural lotion rub. Achey throwing shoulders, leg cramps and tweaked muscles can be soothed on the spot! All of our pitchers get a little rub down of their shoulder and throwing arm and the coaches each keep a tube of deep blue in the dug out.
Lavender +Melaleuca – For minor cuts, scrapes, nicks of any sort. Kids find creative ways to snag their skin, so make sure you have this on hand.
Purify + Lavender – The only thing that stings worse than a tough loss is one of the million bees and wasps that are sure to be hovering around you and the kids. Bees make me queasy, so I’m always ready with these oils just in case to soothe any skin irritations that might pop up.
In-Tune + Balance – Helps with focus, concentration and staying cool, calm and collected. You will see the difference when your kid is “locked and loaded” for game time.
Lavender + Frankincense – A sunshiny day makes for a great baseball experience. This combo is great for soothing the skin after a long day in the sun.
Frankincense – This oil is great for reducing inflammation and occasional aches and pain. Hit by a pitch or errant throw? A collision on the field? Hard slide into second? You will thank “the frank.”
Interested in an athlete's kit of essential oils? I can help you get the best deal. Just drop me a quick note, and I'll fill you in.
ABS ARE MADE IN THE KITCHEN.
SO ARE ALL-STARS.
There’s an old saying in fitness that a strong core and awesome abs are actually accomplished through your food choices, not necessarily how hard you are working out. A lot of great results can be nullified by poor eating habits. The same goes for your little all-star. If you are consistently placing healthy choices on their plate, you will see a difference in their health, and their athletic performance (even their mental focus). Many professional sports teams and athletes have discovered the power of diet in their overall approach to their training. A clean diet is the most powerful way to up your kiddo’s game.
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to food. But here are a few high level tips. These aren't just for athletics. This is for overall health and wellness for EVERYONE. I’m happy to share more about nutrition for anyone who wants to go deeper. Just contact me here.
Let’s start with a few foods you should remove from the rotation:
1. Bad fats, including hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, soybean oil, canola oil and vegetable oils.
Why? These bad fats contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, chronic fatigue and chronic inflammation.
2. Processed meats.
Why? Hundreds of studies that link commercial meats to cancer and heart disease. Processed meats are typically loaded with pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones that confuse and harm our bodies
3. Refined sugars and grains, including white rice, white pasta, white/wheat bread, soft drinks, lunch meats and many sauces
Why? These cause inflammation and spike blood sugar.
BONUS TIP: While we’re at it, obviously the more often you can feed your child real food that was prepared at home, versus eating out (particularly fast food), the better off you will be. In our hurry up, always running behind way of living, it’s become much more common to go for the “quick fix” whether that’s handing your child something out of box or package, or racing through the drive-thru line. There are creative ways to save time and money and still get more real food in your kid’s everyday diet. Check out this video from my sister shot with my nephew to compare the cost and efficiency of making a "fast food" meal at home vs picking one up at a popular drive through.
Ok, so with that being said, what should you feed your little athlete?
1. Good fats, including avocadoes, olive oil, raw/sprouted nuts/seeds, organic pasture raised eggs, and organic, unrefined coconut oil.
Why? These good fats are essential to hormone production, cancer prevention, brain dev, weight loss, cellular healing and reversing-inflammation.
2. Grass fed meats.
Why? They are excellent for our health and a good addition to the diet. Yes, it’s a little more expensive but well worth the investment.
3. Low-glycemic carbohydrates, including fruits and veggies that are loaded with fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, flax and buckwheat.
Why? These carbs improve energy, stimulate weight loss (if needed), and naturally detox the cells.
It's a Journey! I’m well aware that some of the foods listed above may not immediately fly with your child’s taste buds and food preferences. You’ll get there. Start small, and work more and more of these healthy choices into your meals. Find things that immediately work for your family, and then continue to layer on more goodness over time. You don’t have to change everything overnight. Just start changing something today.
REST, RECOVER AND START A DAILY GRIND
Unless your athlete is in high school, he/she is probably too young to be hitting the gym and pumping iron. But there are some safe, practical and highly effective things you can do to help your kiddo’s body heal from the last big game and strengthen it for the season ahead. I know they are super resilient and bounce back much faster than us, but 5 games in a weekend is tough on anyone's body so teaching them to take care of themselves and give attention to the rest and recovery process is a great habit to form young.
First, for recovery, try Epsom Salt baths. They are good for sore muscles and joints, plus it's an easy, safe way to help their body get a little more magnesium, which most of us are deficient in. I’d highly recommend adding them to your regular routine. Also, incorporate light stretching daily. Our oldest has been fighting through some ankle soreness related to a growth spurt, so we’ve had him doing simple heel and calf stretches every afternoon. Flexibility is key to avoiding injuries and increasing performance.
For strength building, try starting your child with a simple fitness routine that uses body weight, cardio and core work. This may not be necessary for some kids, but many kids spend all day at school and all afternoon doing homework or watching a screen. If there isn't a lot of natural play time built into your child's day then adding a short routine like the one below to help them get their body moving can be helpful for overall health and wellness. Have your child begin with a small number of each exercise, completing three full rounds of this list. Over time, they can build up to more reps, and they will start to feel stronger as they go. (Our 10 year old does this several times a week, but our 8 year old just focuses on getting in lots of play time. Use your best judgement for your child.)
Recommended Daily Grind:
Check out our little guy demonstrating his daily grind:
As I said at the start of this post, these tips are just as powerful off the field as they are on. And they aren't just for the children. As parents, we can also up our game and be positive role models for our kids. It's a proven fact that they will follow our lead. If you are getting strong as a family, it reinforces those healthy habits for your little athlete and sets you all up for long-term results. Are you in it to win it when it comes to your health? Your kids will know.
If this guide has you motivated, and you want to know what to do next to get your family's health in gear, please drop me a note. Whether you want to get the best possible deal on the essential oils we talked about here, or you are ready to make healthy lifestyle changes for yourself or your family and don't know where to start, I'd love to help you.