A couple of weeks ago I asked you all how often you think about preventing sports injuries in your athletes. The feedback on social media was interesting, it seems many of you don’t think about it until it happens to your child. That was so me. My son fractured his patella sleeve and ended up in full leg cast, which woke me up real quick! I shared our story in this post.
I shouldn’t have been surprised though, kids get hurt in sports all the time, so preventing injury is something we should all take an interest in. Last time I talked about how daily supplements have really helped my son recoup from his injury, and stay strong as he continues in his sports. They have also been great for my other son, in easing his aches and pains, and keeping both of their post-activity soreness at a manageable level.
Today, I’m sharing another way we are intentional about preventing sports injuries in our athletes. This method is supremely important, and was highly recommended by my son’s physical therapists during treatment, and even after.
How to Prevent Sports Injuries in Kids: Dynamic Stretching
Stretching before exercise is a practice we’re familiar with, but have you heard of the term dynamic stretching? While traditional static stretching fully extends a muscle and holds it for a specified length of time, Dynamic Stretching involves movement for the stretch to be in effect. This causes the muscle to lengthen, and also works to promote coordination and better balance. Dynamic Stretching is an excellent way to warm up before sports, in fact, you may have seen some of it done by pro players before a game. According to the interwebs, this type of stretching has been shown to improve performance when done before an activity that requires power, strength, or speed, like many of the sports our kiddos play. (source)
Our Physical Therapist provided us with a long list Dynamic Stretching moves to do daily. Not gonna lie, it was a lot! My son did all of them daily until his Orthopedic Surgeon cleared him to return to sports, then we paired it down to just 5. In theory, we should’ve stuck to what the pros recommended, but ain’t nobody got time for that! Seriously, I wanted to, but it was very time consuming, and now that he’s back in sports, many similar moves are already incorporated in the team’s warm-up routines, so he gets them in for the most part anyway.
But the point here though is to be intentional in preventing injury; sometimes regular pre-activity routines aren’t enough. This is when going the extra mile as in watching what they eat, keeping them hydrated, and providing them with the necessary supplements they need, comes into play. So just before practices or games, we take a few minutes out in the yard to have my youngest son (the one that was injured) do a quick series of Dynamic Stretches. These are typically done within the length of the yard performing the move one way across, and then working his way back to where he started. Indoors is fine too, or anywhere there is about 20-30 ft. of space. We’ve paired the list down to just the 5 listed below:
Hip Rotator Walk
Keeping shoulders and hips square, lift and rotate one leg outward, over an imaginary hurdle, then back down to the ground, alternating legs.
High knee skipping, alternating arms and legs.
Zig Zag Run
Run diagonally to the right 3 steps then change direction and run to the left 3 steps.
Lunge With Rotation
Lunge forward with the right leg and rotate your core and arms to the right side, bring your feet back together. Then lunge forward with the left leg, rotate your core and arms to the left side, then bring feet together.
With legs straight, bend at the hips and walk on the ground with your arms, onto a push-up position. Then walk your feet up to meet your hands, without lifting hands or feet.
Watch my little guy show you how to do these moves:
Altogether this warm up takes about 10 minutes to complete, give or take, and should be a precursor to whatever warm up your child’s Coach already has planned.
As I mentioned in part 1, this is what worked for us. I am not a medical professional, nor do I intend to provide medical advice. I am just a mama who took the guidance given by the pros and applied it to my son in my own way, and am very happy with the results! So, be sure to consult with your Pediatrician before starting any new health and or exercise routine.
Dynamic Stretching has helped my son get his muscles and joints ready to work hard. But this is only part of the process, come back for part 3 in the series, How to Prevent Youth Sports Injuries.
Click here to go back to Part 1.
Next Up..Intentional Rest.
Barbara is the mom behind the blog. She began writing in 2012 as the creator of Hello Life, a craft & lifestyle blog. As life evolved, and her kids became more involved in sports, she aimed to create a site that would resonate with moms like her, and in 2017 Modern Sports Mom was born. Like many of today’s mamas, she loves being creative, cooking, and fashion, and when there are a few minutes to spare, a good book. A baseball and football mom, she is fueled by her strong faith, dedication to her family, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! Barbara lives in California with her husband, kids, dog, and cat.