3 Ways Child Athletes Can Increase Performance

There are many extra factors that are included in the lives of child athletes. They have to cope with additional elements that previous generations never had to contend with. These additional stressors can potentially lower their performance, and in worst case scenarios, won’t be able to reach their maximum potential.

If you’re a parent, it goes without saying that you want nothing but the best for your children, so, use these points to help your children increase their performance as an athlete…

Let sleep unlock the potential

Sleep can seem like an afterthought when there are so many other more important things in the lives of a young athlete. But it’s really should be at the forefront, and as good parents, you want to make sure this is the case.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 10 to 17-year-olds require 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours sleep every night. Despite this, the average adolescent only racks up just over 7 hours of sleep per night.

Look out for cranky behavior and excessive sleepiness as signs that your young athlete isn’t clocking up the superior slumber they require to perform at their best. Admittedly, many adolescents will behave with those mannerisms anyway as they deal with their hormones running wild but, try to be aware of the extreme cases.

Speaking of hormones, if there’s a lack of sleep, a growth hormone called cortisol is released. Sleep is required to introduce a growth hormone that stimulates and repairs the body’s tissues and muscles, as well as burning fat, building bone, and generally helping the body to repair and recover. Lack of sleep applies stress to the body and incites the production of cortisol.  

Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, often restricts recovery rates of athletes. Not only recovery but insulin resistance and weight gain can occur as a result, along with lower bone density, immunity, interrupted memory and ability to learn.

Suddenly, it is very apparent how important sleep is for young athletes. So, make sure they get the best sleep possible. One way to do this is to make sure they have a mattress they can enjoy sleep night after night on.

Eat your way to peak performance

The temptations of fast food are everywhere. The cost and convenience of inferior alternatives to healthy options make it difficult to ignore, particularly in today’s hectic modern-day living. However, proper nutrition is paramount to unlocking peak performance.

Essentially, all you need to think here is to go back to basics. Different athletes and children, on the whole, require varying dietary requirements, but whatever they need, the following three compounds, in the proper ratios, are the foundation to build nutrition around;

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fats

It’s a simple as that! Well, not quite, but if these are included in a balanced diet, then you’re on the right track.

Yes, fast food and convenience foods can contain carbs, proteins, and fats, but they’re also littered with preservatives, additives, and flavorings which contradict the nutritional aspects of the food that you are trying to get your children to benefit from.

Carbohydrates: An athlete’s primary source of fuel are carbs, which break down into glucose. It’s that glucose that is fundamentally responsible for ‘powering’ the brain, the nervous system, and muscles too.

For reference, carbs should account for up to 60% of your child’s diet, using fruit and veg, as well as grains as premium sources.

Protein: Protein is utilized by the body to aid the optimum growth and repair of muscle and tissue. Protein isn’t as much of a peak energy source compared to carbohydrates and is used when the athlete doesn’t get enough carbs on board or if the athlete’s body has depleted its carbohydrate stores.

Ideally, protein should make up between 15 to 20% of your little athlete’s diet, with sources consisting of soy, lean meats, skinless poultry, eggs, and fish, for example. You can also find the essential fats from sources such as eggs, fish, and nuts too.

Use meditation as the hidden key to success

Meditation serves as a nice outsider to turn to when it comes to getting the best from your aspiring athlete. You can get them to carry out some meditation in a variety of ways, such as

  •      Focus on your breathing
  •     Repeat a mantra
  •      Listen to calming music

Meditation opens up an alternative way to reduce anxiety and stress, along with increasing concentration levels and improving mental focus.

Being relaxed raises the ability to keep cool in stressful, pressurized situations while helping concentration and focus also. Have your young athlete practice meditation on a regular basis and their bodies will develop the capability to relax in stressful situations. It also means they can build their self-confidence and have an overall more positive outlook.