There are so many things to think about and do when your child is a student athlete and he or she is striving to get a college scholarship. The two most important things to do are to keep their grades up and avoid getting sports injuries. Don't get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of things that you forget the most basic elements that everyone needs for success—earth, water, air, and fire. Here's what you need to know.
Being out in nature can have a calming effect and help improve attention. In fact, researchers have found that regular exposure and interaction with nature can help improve inattention in ADHD and attention fatigue in non-ADHD groups of people. Because of this, you'll want to have your student athlete exposed to nature on a regular basis.
Of course, depending on their sport, they may play and train outside. If so, encourage them to relax and take in the scenery a bit before they leave the field after practice. If they participate in an indoor sport, encourage them to cross-train outdoors whenever possible, such as hiking in the woods or bicycling in the country.
Hydration is crucial to all humans, especially athletes. Proper hydration can help keep your student athlete's muscles from cramping up, and it will help reduce the risks of heat-related illnesses. An adequate supply of water is necessary to keep a good balance of salts and electrolytes in the blood. Researchers have also found that dehydration can put athletes at greater risk of concussions.
When someone is dehydrated, their body doesn't have as much fluid in it as it should, which also includes the cerebrospinal fluid that is around the brain to protect it from trauma and impacts. In fact, a dehydration level of just 2% can lead to a significant reduction in the level of cerebrospinal fluid. A dehydration level of 2% is when someone starts to feel thirsty. Since a concussion is a brain injury, it could easily sideline your student athlete on the field and in the classroom.
Breathing is another important thing that everyone needs to do. Bodies and brains need oxygen. To keep your student athlete healthy, it's important that he or she breathes in good, clean air that is not loaded with things like pollutants and/or allergens. Whenever possible, it's a good idea to open the windows in the home to let the stale air out and the fresh air in.
It's also a good idea for your student athlete to learn to control their breathing and practice it on a regular basis. Controlled breathing can help reduce muscle tension and fatigue. Using controlled breathing is especially helpful if your student athlete is susceptible to muscle cramps. The athlete trainer in their school can teach them how to control their breathing while they participate in their particular sport.
For your student athlete to be successful, he or she will need a ton of energy. Provide them with nutritious foods that will help set their metabolism on fire so they'll have the energy they need to last all day. It's a good idea to ask your student athlete's pediatrician for blood tests to determine if all of their metabolic and nutrient levels are optimal for them and their needs as a student and as an athlete. The results of the blood tests may show that improvements may need to be made in their diet.
Fire can also signify the burning desire to achieve greatness, which can be a huge motivating factor in some individuals. If this sounds like your student athlete, you may need to have them tone down their practice sessions so they don't burn out too quickly before the end of the season, as doing so could put them at risk of injury.