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Thera-Band® Latex-Free Multi-Band Patient Packs / Light (Thera-Band Yellow, Red, and Green)

Resistance bands, therabands, kinetic bands – these versatile stretchy bands come in a variety of shapes, strengths, sizes and are called different names – but regardless of what you know them as, they can be an excellent supplement to strength and flexibility, which can help prevent injury, for any sport.

Resistance bands are inexpensive, portable, and the number of exercises you can use them for is limited only by your coaching imagination (and resistance training is safe for young athletes, too)!  Use lighter bands for younger athletes and the heavier bands for older, more experienced athletes. Educate athletes on the correct technique for each exercise and monitor them during exercise so you can make corrections to posture and form during the exercises.


Here are some great resources for resistance band training and conditioning ideas – some general and some sport-specific:

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This guest post by Laura Amann was originally posted a few years ago on this site, but it is worth a read again. 

disappointed gymnast

My days of gymnastics are over. So are my long hours at the gym. My nervousness and anxiety. It’s all in the past. No more ponytails woven with ribbons, no more glitter spray, no more bleacher analysis. My daughter has left the sport.

For years, Caroline competed on a gymnastics team and she adored everything about it. Four days a week, we drove the ½ hour back and forth to the gym so that she could practice 15 hours a week, year-round. I volunteered, I chatted with the parents, I watched and learned and bit my nails. The parents became my friends, the meets became a social time.

Eventually after three years of this schedule, the complaints began: the coaches were too hard, she had a headache, she was tired, she had too much homework. Her message read loud and clear: she was burnt out at the age of 11.

So much attention has been given recently on the downside of focusing on just one sport at such a young age, that we overlook some benefits. Yes, kids miss out on the opportunity to dabble in other sports or activities. Homework is often done in the car or in the bleachers. Dinner is split into two meals: before practice and after.  She frequently misses out on seeing her three siblings compete in their own activities.

Yet as we leave the world of competitive gymnastics, I’m forced to reflect on all that it has given us. We’ve heard many comments lamenting our “lost investment” or pointing out all that wasted time and money we’ve expended (and it’s been a tremendous amount, don’t get me wrong) but it’s certainly not wasted.  By focusing so singularly on a sport, she’s learned tremendous life skills. Not the least of which is valuable time management skills – homework and friends must be balanced with the team schedule. Competing individually in front of judges has taught her to handle intense competition and scrutiny in a way that class presentations never could. She’s mastered stress management and developed a self-confidence that will serve her well in any type of public arena.

Her teammates have taught her about the deep bonds you develop with others who share your passion. She’s met some close friends and seen the good and the ugly side of competition.  She’s learned about nutrition, hydration, caring for injuries, pacing yourself and pushing yourself. All before the age of 12.

It’s humbling to realize how much of my version of her is wrapped up in her being a gymnast and how much of her identity involves her being a gymnast. It’s part of what defines her. This is the fine line that we must walk as parents: when to encourage them to keep going over a bump in the road, and when to guide them to another path. There are never clear street signs.

We’ve watched in amazement. And now we will watch as she walks away from what defines her the most. She’s young; there will be other time-intensive activities I’m sure. The gymnastics world will slowly fade away from our family’s routine. Life goes on. But I will be forever grateful to the sport, to any activity, that can inspire and push children to dream and grow.

Perhaps the biggest lesson that she’s learned is the one that amazes me the most. Because of her rigorous schedule, she’s developed a kind of discipline that some people only dream of: when she’s tired, she goes to sleep; when she’s not hungry, she doesn’t eat. And that’s a life experience worth learning.

Laura Amann is a freelance writer and the mother of four children. You can learn more at www.laura-amann.com.

Image source: Stock.xchng

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When I ask my daughter what her favorite memories of her high schools sports years were, she always says the travel. She can’t tell you whether they won their competition or not, but she can tell you all about the team bonding, late night chat sessions with her teammates and the team dinners. That is what she remembers with the greatest fondness.

We recently worked with Extended Stay America who gave me a few nights in their Colorado Springs location in exchange for my honest review of my stay.

First of all, let me just say, that if you are traveling with a team, Extended Stay America is a great choice! The fact that they have very clean and spacious room coupled with the full kitchen in each room is ideal for team travel.

Rooms are available with one or two beds (in most cases) and have all the important amenities of home that make travel enjoyable.  Extended Stay America has over 600 locations throughout the US and Canada, and the location I visited in Colorado Springs is probably one of the cleanest hotels I have ever stayed in.

The fully functional kitchen is a huge plus when traveling with a team. We were able to stop at the local grocery store on our way in to pick up healthy breakfast and snack foods for our stay, however, you can get a full set of pots/pans and do all your cooking. Depending on the size of your team, this definitely makes preparing a team dinner less expensive and more comfortable than trying to coordinate restaurant options.

Other amenities at Extended Stay America include free wi-fi, on-site laundry facilities, grab & go breakfast, and they are pet-friendly.

Next time you are looking for high value, affordable hotels for team travel options, be sure to check for an Extended Stay America near your destination – they are becoming my go-to for family and team travel – you will love them, too!