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Archive for March, 2011

Raising happy, healthy athletes is a lot of work, but according to a recent Gatorade report on Mom’s and youth sports, I am not alone when I say the extra time and preparation is something I gladly do.

Did you know that according to the Gatorade study seventy percent of moms are raising kids in competitive sports, creating a group of “Sports Moms” nearly 13 million strong? Or that Sports Moms spend one-third more time and more than twice as much money across their children’s entire span of extracurricular activities than moms without kids in sports? Despite this, 79 percent of Sports Moms report that it’s “no problem” balancing these added demands with their other responsibilities, further reinforcing their commitment to their kids’ sports.

Gatorade has created a new website for sports moms to help give us the resources to make our jobs a little easier – especially when it comes to nutrition. Sports nutrition is tricky stuff – especially when you are dealing with athletes of different ages, types of sports and genders. For example, my 14 year old son who swims a 2 hour workout needs a different kind of fuel than my 12 year old daughter who does gymnastics 12 hours a week, and that is different from what my 9 year old who plays field hockey 2-3 times a week and swims 2-3 times a week needs. But regardless of what sport they do, they all need to keep hydrated. Knowing how much fluid to give them and when keeps me on my toes and requires that I take the time to educate them, as well.

The Gatorade Moms web site is already packed with great articles by leading experts in the sports nutrition field and they are definitely worth taking the time to read and share with your teammates. Some of the more useful articles, in my opinion, are:

  • Protein for Athletes, A Practical Guide
  • Hydration: Critical for Performance
  • On the Road Again: How to Choose High-performance Foods When Traveling

What’s your take? Is being a Sports Mom (or Dad) a role you enjoy or is it just too much?

Categories : Nutrition, Parenting
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Jordyn Wieber at the 2011 WOGA Classic – photo by Scott Hults

Seventeen months out from the 2012 Olympic Games in London and USA National Team Member Jordyn Wieber is looking more and more like USA Gymnastics’ “It Girl” much like Shawn Johnson and Carly Patterson have been in years past. Jordyn Wieber is not a new name in the gymnastics world – she has been wowing us with her gymnastics ability for the past 5 years – on the Junior International scene. Finally, Jordyn can compete as a senior and start building that international gymnastics resume that is going to be so important going into the 2012 games.

At the recent Tyson’s American Cup competition, Jordyn was a last minute addition. Having just come off ankle injuries and being up against the reigning World Champion Aliya Mustafina of Russia, Jordyn entered the meet with conservative expectations. Even with a fall on bars and some missteps on floor, Jordyn was able to capture the all around title (her second Tyson’s American Cup title)- a huge vault and nearly flawless beam routine certainly helped.

Earlier this week, Jordyn and six other members of the senior team including Bridgette Caquatto, Gabriella Douglas, Amanda Jetter, McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman and Sabrina Vega competed in the 2011 City of Jesolo (Italy) Trophy competition. The US team swept the All Around awards but a mistake on floor prevented Wieber from taking the gold – it went instead to teammate McKayla Maroney. Wieber placed second and Alexandra Raisman placed third.

The international experience will be so valuable to Wieber and her teammates coming into this year’s World Championships and next year’s Olympic Games. Additionally, the secret to Wieber’s success is going to be staying injury free. If she can stay healthy, I really do believe that Jordyn Wieber will be a major force for the US team and possibly the “it girl” in 2012.

While I think Wieber, Rebecca Bross and Alexandra Raisman are the leading contenders for spots on the team now, we can’t forget that former Olympic team members Alicia Sacramone, Shawn Johnson and Bridget Sloan are all listed on the US National Team roster at this point. Seventeen months seems like an eternity in one way and I’m sure there will be plenty of surprises along the way!!

Who do you think the next USA Gymnastics “it girl” is going to be?

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Mouthguards are a MUST for Field Sports

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Last night my daughter had her first field hockey practice and I am not sure who learned more – her or me. At the very beginning of the practice her coach took a few minutes to introduce herself to the parents, let us know what to expect from practices and games, and took the time to tell us about the single most important piece of field hockey gear our daughters need for the season – a good mouthguard.

A good mouthguard will serve two key roles in the safety of an athlete:

  • The mouthguard will protect the teeth and gums from lacerations, breaks and other injuries as a result of being hit by the ball, a stick, another player, or falls.
  • The mouthguard will also offer a level of protection against concussions by stabilizing the jaw and absorbing some of the impact.

Mouthguards will not prevent all injuries, but according to mouthguard manufacturer Shock Doctor, it is estimated that mouthguards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year.

The athletes are required to wear their mouthguards anytime a ball is in play – which means from the beginning of practice until the end and the entire game. It’s just that important. Our league has even gone as far as to require the athletes wear colored mouthguards to make it much easier for coaches and referees to visually check for mouthguards.

So, what kind of mouthguard do you get? Based on the research I have been doing and the recommendation of our coaches, the newer technology, double layer mouthguards are the way to go. Yes, they are more expensive, but the construction of the mouthguard is going to give more protection for your athlete. If your athlete wears braces, they make mouthguards specifically for braces, too (like the one pictured at the left).

Once you have the mouthguard, be sure to follow the manufacturers  instructions to a tee to get the best fit and most comfort for your player. Most require the mouthguard be boiled and then the athlete to bite on the mouthguard very hard while it is in their mouth. The better fitting mouthguard, the better! You may have to try a few mouthguards before your athlete finds the one that works best and while there are mouthguards for youth, intermediate and adult, take into account your child’s mouth size not just their age when picking out a mouthguard. Our daughter is very tall for 9 and while the youth mouthguard says ages 10 and under, her mouth fits much more comfortably into the one for ages 11 and up.

After each wear be sure to wash and dry the mouthguard and remind your athlete not to chew on it.

More resources on Mouthguards and their relationship to injury and concussion prevention in youth athletes:

  • Mouthguard Facts
  • Commentary: Role of Properly Fitted Mouthguards in Prevention of Sport-Related Concussion
  • American Association of Orthodontics on Why Mouthguards

If your child (or you) play field hockey, ice hockey, soccer, lacrosse, football, softball, baseball or any other potential contact sport (ball, puck, stick or person), a good quality, good fitting mouthguard is an investment you absolutely must make!!

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