Laying the Foundation For Future Athletes

One of the best ways to keep your kids active is to get them into sports when they’re young. Kids are spending less and less time outdoors, but being physically active is still a very necessary and important part of being healthy. What is the best way to get your kids started?

  1. Introduce a Ball: Learning to play with a ball gets you familiar with a sport before you’re able to throw, kick, pass or whatnot. You can practice rolling the ball, bouncing, and even just feeling the texture of the different balls out there; soccer, basketball, football, etc.
  2. Start with Soccer: Soccer is much easier to grasp than basketball or football which requires more hand-eye coordination. Many schools introduce soccer as a first sport to children because it’s the easiest to learn and it can help teach teamwork. Soccer also builds up stamina and helps with balance and coordination in your legs. If your child is playing soccer, make sure they have the proper fitting shoes. It’s not necessary to have cleats for a very young child, but once they start playing competitively it’s good to make sure you have all of the right gear including shin guards, long socks, ankle supporting braces or tape, and cleats.
  3. Do Drills: Drills help strengthen target areas of your body and hone specific skill sets. No matter what sport, repetitive drills can also help teach proper form which is very important as you learn to play. Proper form also decreases the risk of you over stressing your feet and ankles in the wrong way. If you notice that your child is tripping a lot or spraining his/her ankle easily use preventative measures such as tape, high ankle sneakers, or ankle braces to protect their joints as they grow. If you notice that it’s severe, you should see a doctor to make sure it’s not a neurological or structural issue.

Playing a sport also helps build awareness of your own body, the space around you, and the other people you are playing with. It’s much healthier for you than sitting and binge watching a TV show. If you find that your child is reluctant to play, try playing together and making it a family activity.

If you have any questions about how to best prepare your child for sports, or have any feet or ankle related issues, visit us at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Centreville, VA. Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm has been treating and advising patients for over eighteen years and has expertise in many sports related foot and ankle ailments. Call our office at 703-996-3000 or make an appointment here.

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