With winter sports well underway, it is important to remember children do get injuries that we can help prevent. ACC has been instrumental in leading the change with their ACC SportSmart program development. In collaboration with Netball NZ, Rugby NZ, Touch NZ, Football NZ and League NZ they each developed specific frameworks with focuses on warm-up, training and conditioning, and wellbeing resources that can be found through the following organizations.
Hopefully, as parent coaches, you are implementing these in your training and warm-up sessions. If you are watching from the sideline and are not sure if your child coach is aware of these you can help spread the word or start some of these exercises with your child at home. Although most of these frameworks are developed for the 10 + age group but the knowledge and exercises can be easily adapted for the younger children. For example; lunge exercises. They may not be able to lunge low but they can start to learn the exercise, build strength and challenges their balance.
Check out links for these specific programs;
Advice on sport for school-age children
For younger children, they have collaborated with researchers to define key recommendations to protect their growing bodies from injury (growing number of serious injuries such as ACL tears), prevent burnout from sport and continue to develop a passion for healthy cultures with exercise and sport.
- Participate in a number of different sports (codes)
- Avoid specialisation in one sport till the child is at least 10 to 12 years
- Hours of training and games per week should be less than the child’s age
- Kids should have twice as long free play time (e.g. kicking a footy with friends in the backyard) as they have in structured play (training and game of footy).
- 4 months off training each year for each single sport
- Fun and friendship is the primary goal for kids and teens in sport
Remember the key for children in sport is FUN, FUN, FUN. We want to encourage a lifelong love of sports and fitness.