Our Top Picks For Young Athletes
Whether your child is just starting out or has been involved in youth sports for a while, having the right gear can make a significant difference in their performance and overall experience. We will share some top picks for must-have gear. Please keep in mind that we are not doctors. If you have a question or concern make sure to reach out to your child’s doctor. These are just some things that have worked for our kids over the past
1. Proper Footwear – Inserts For Cleats Or Running Shoes
Arch Support Inserts: Depending on the sport your child participates in, be it soccer, basketball, or running, investing in quality footwear designed for that specific activity is crucial.
And after dealing with tendonitis in our son’s foot for months we decided to try a slim pair of inserts to hopefully relieve some of the pain.
He is using these CUREX CLEATPRO inserts in his soccer cleats and loves them. They helped with his pain after a few training sessions of using them. They are providing support but still move with his foot. A lot of other brands we tried were too rigid, but these seem to do the trick.
CUREX offers a bunch of options for different activities. You can check out the whole line of CUREX inserts here.
If these are out of your budget, this similar and less expensive brand of shoe inserts might be a good option. Although we haven’t personally tried these, they have a bunch of wonderful reviews.
2. Stretching & Recovery
Massage Gun: TheraGun Mini. Handheld Electric Massage Gun – This one is a bit pricey but our son did put in on his “if i got stranded on an island” list. HA! It definitely gets passed along the team bench before the game and during half time.
Foam Roller: A foam roller is a more affordable option to the massage gun.
Compression Sleeves: If your athlete is recovering from an injury or needs a little support, we have found that compression sleeves have helped a lot. Taping can also help, but removing the tape is a different story. The Bauerfeind Sports Ankle Compression Sleeve has really helped with his foot pain while shooting. The Bauerfeind online shop lets you search by body part to help find relief while training. There are tons of other options. This is just the one we prefer.
Tens Machine: This is a great drug-free pain relief option. It works by stimulating the affected muscle group. We have been happy with the AUVON Rechargeable TENS Unit although I do wish it had a clip. This TENS unit has over 90k reviews. Again, I’m not familiar with the minimum age of use or any potential health risks so consult your child’s doctor before using.
Epson Salt: After a long training session or game, an epsom salt bath helps to soothe sore muscles and aid in relaxation.
Reusable Ice Packs: These are constantly being used in our house. These reusable hot/cold gel recovery packs have a strap to keep them in place. Or these flexible reusable ice packs are also great to have on hand.
3. Training Aids
Depending on the sport, there are various training aids available that can help your child improve their skills. These can include everything like rebounders to agility ladders. These tools can make practice more engaging and effective. I would suggest checking checking Facebook Marketplace for some of the larger equipment like rebounder nets.
Rebounders: This obviously varies depending on the sport, but sometimes something as simple as a outdoor wall at the community tennis court or playground can work great.
Agility Ladders: These are used to improve footwork, speed, and agility. Athletes perform various drills by moving their feet in and out of the ladder’s rungs.
Cones and Markers: Cones and markers are versatile tools for creating training drills and marking boundaries on the field or court. Our son has a set in his soccer bag that he uses for training sessions by himself or that he’s set up with buddies.
Staying hydrated is crucial for optimal performance. A reusable water bottle with a secure lid is a must-have item for every young athlete. Encourage your child to drink water before, during, and after practice or games to prevent dehydration.
Liquid IV:With a kid who’s allergic to food coloring, we have steered clear of many sports drinks. Liquid IV is a great hydration product without a lot of the junk. It really helps rehydrate athletes faster than water alone.
Large Water Bottle: You’ll want a large water bottle like this Under Armor Playermaker Sports Jug We look for one without straws that easily pours out. If your teammate runs out of water you can easily spot them a few ounces.
5. A Positive Attitude
Sometimes this is the most difficult to provide to your young athlete. Remind them that even the greatest athletes have bad practices, miss shots and make mistakes, but it’s what you do next that matters. Teach them to surround themselves with people who share their passion and focus. Teach them the importance of thanking their coach, of encouraging their teammates, of putting in the work to reach their goals.