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Archive for February, 2009


Over Training and the Youth Athlete

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gymnastHave you ever seen your daughter act less than enthusiastic, moody, have a loss of focus, lack of appetite, poor sleeping habits, or always seemly tired?  How about loss of strength and coordination, a higher than usual susceptibility to colds and flu, allergies and minor infections to as well?

If you have observed these and other out of character behaviors from your child athlete, you may be looking at a child that is feeling the effects of over training.

Just What is Over Training?

Over-training happens when the body is being pushed beyond its capacity physically and or emotionally, resulting in stress leading to a break down in the child’s physical and mental capacities related to their chosen sports participation.

Over training can be caused by  initial over-enthusiasm on the part of the coach or athlete, lack of proper planning of training cycles, stresses on the child’s life or the ridiculous misguided belief of ‘no pain, no gain’.

A common way to determine if your child is suffering from over training  is to have your athlete do a regular run or swim (or similar activity for their sport) and record the time, average and maximum heart rate, and recovery time.

If the time is slower than normal and the average or maximum heart rate higher than normal, or the rate of recovery is longer than normal, she may be over-training.

How Can You Help

If you think over training may be the cause, talk to the coach and allow a couple of days of complete rest away from the sport. Reassess the training schedule and make sure the coach and athlete have struck the right balance between hard and easy days. Talk to your child about other possible contributing factors ( school, friends etc.), too.

Start with Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important components of recovery and is therefore a very important component of a training program.

The best way to help your child achieve regular sleeping patterns is to establish a routine that is doable and understandable for you and the child.

  • Go to bed and get up at close to the same time regularly.
  • Know your child’s necessary amount of sleep needed and ensure she gets it.
  • Try to promote relaxing before time she goes to sleep.
  • Try to finish training at least 3 hours before going to sleep – although this may be somewhat of a challenge for some sports that require longer workouts after school).
  • Provide a quick nutritious post work out meal after training.
  • Keep the bedroom of the child at a comfortable temperature.

It is very important to keep a close eye on your child’s training as well as the rationale for the training they are receiving. Doing this will help avoid unnecessary stops and starts in her training routine, and keep her healthy and happy too.

More resources on over training and young athletes:

Get more great insight on injury prevention, nutrition, youth sports and of course track, at Dr. Lorraine Williams’ web site,

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Categories : Parenting
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Fun Funky Fleece Hats Keep Swimmers Warm

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squid lids fleece hat for swimmersWith my girls swimming year round this year, keeping them warm while getting from the pool to home has been a challenge. At the first meet we went to, we saw a bunch of swimmers wearing these funky polar fleece hats with long tails. These hats are perfect for preventing heat loss through the head and the long tails works well for girls with long hair and wet pony tails, too.

The hats, called squid hats or squid lids, are made of fleece. They are very easy to make (although I bought ours because the price was right) and require very little sewing. Basically you measure your child’s head, sew a tube, and cut in the fringe. To me it looks like a fleece windsock!


Here are some more detailed instruction sets for very similar hats:

  • Making an easy fleece hat (you can tie the ends or leave them long)
  • Another set of instructions for a fleece hat
  • Instructions for fleece hat with printable pattern
  • The pattern at Martha Stewart’s site gives guidelines on sizing too

I am pretty sure that the company, SquidLids Inc., is who made the ones we bought at the swim meet. If you are looking to buy one instead of making it, she has the best selection on the web. And if you are looking for a huge selection of the fleece fabric check out…Up to 70% off Retail

Staying warm can be fun!

Categories : fashion, Swimming
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Jordyn WieberI have been so caught up in getting my own girls ready for a big swim meet this weekend (more on that later) and getting my gymnasts ready for a competition next weekend, that I completely forgot that the Tyson American Cup Gymnastics meet is tomorrow, February 21, 2009 and it is being held in Chicago.

One of the nice things about this long standing competition is that the field of competitors is small, and while many of the competitors arrive as relative unknowns, many of our most recognized gymnasts in history competed in an American Cup meet at some point in their career. Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Shannon Miller, Nastia Liukin, and Shawn Johnson are all former American Cup champions!

So who will emerge as champion this year? The line up for the women looks like this:

Brittany Rogers, Canada
Youna Dufournet, France
Kim Bui, Germany
Rebecca Downie, Great Britain
Koko Tsurumi, Japan
Amelia Racea, Romania
Kristina Goryunova, Russia
Bridget Sloan, USA
Jordyn Wieber, USA
Jessica Lopez, Venezuela

I predict this is Jordyn Wieber’s year, but she will have to be “on” to get past Olympian Bridget Sloan.  You can watch the meet live online at 2:30 Eastern on Universal Sports or wait until 4 pm Eastern and catch it on NBC Sports.

Photo (Jordyn Wieber web site)

UPDATE: Well, I was right! Jordyn Wieber wowed the crowd and was on today! She came in 1st in front of Bridget Sloan and Germany’s Kim Bui. Read the report and watch the competition rewind at Universal Sports.

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Categories : Gymnastics, Videos
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