Sports Medicine Tips for Creating a Positive Youth Sports Experience By Sports Medicine, February 8, 2018 With the right amount of fun, competition, and learning, organized sports can be an integral part of a young person’s physical and mental development. You should make sure, however, that your young athlete is getting the most out of his or her experience. How to Make Youth Sports a Positive for Your Kids To ensure organized sports are positive learning experiences for young athletes, be sure to follow these youth-sports tips: Choose age-appropriate activities. Children should be challenged in both practice and in games, but they should be able to achieve some degree of success and competence. As kids get older, the complexities of the games should increase. Provide suitable equipment. Make sure the equipment is designed for children, not adults. Adjust the size of the field and the goal, height of the basket, length of base paths, etc. Take a break. Avoid having your child play only the same sport all year-round to give his or her body a chance to rest and recover. Modify rules to get kids involved. For example, small-sided games in soccer may be more appropriate than full-sided games for young players. With a bit of improvising, any sport can be accessible to young players. Don’t ignore pain. Don’t let your child play through pain. It may be caused by an underlying condition that could result in further injury if ignored. Hydrate! For best results, make sure your child is hydrating well before practice or a game. Do your homework. Check out the situation before you commit. This can include the personality of the coach, the philosophy of the organization, and the atmosphere at the games. Be a role model. Foster appropriate behavior and sportsmanship during athletic events. Following these tips can help your young athlete enjoy his or her time on the field. Learn more about youth-sports tips and the services at UPMC Sports Medicine.