Budget-Friendly Ways to Support the Little Athlete in Your Life

Getting involved in sports is great for kids. It helps them get much-needed exercise that can help prevent childhood obesity. Sports teach kids about teamwork while giving them a social outlet other than school. They are challenging, and help kids learn about overcoming adversity and working toward your goals. There is also evidence that the exercise children get while playing sports correlates with improved academic performance. Kids learn about commitment, winning and losing, competitiveness, friendship and leadership.

If your little ones are interested in sports, you can help nurture their curiosity with equipment and activities at home. The following advice will help you do just that while staying within your family’s budget.

Sign Up for a Fun Run

Running is an essential training element for just about every sport. It helps children build endurance so they don’t get fatigued when playing. By signing up for a fun run as a family, you provide your kids with motivation to train and improve their cardiovascular endurance. Look for kid-friendly races, like a mud run, splash dash, or color run. If anyone in the family needs a little convincing to participate, try signing up for a race where contestants wear costumes, and let everyone pick out new tennis shoes and fun get-ups that are on theme (and won’t trip anyone up during the run!).

Install a Basketball Hoop

Basketball is a great sport for kids. It’s quick paced, fun, and there isn’t a whole lot of equipment you have to invest in. Setting up a basketball hoop at home helps children improve their shot while honing their hand/eye coordination. Shooting hoops can also be a calming experience to engage in.

Set Up a Weight Bench in the Garage

Like running, lifting weights is an important part of training no matter what sport your kids play. Having a weight bench that your teen can use to build strength at home will give them an edge over other athletes. Look for used models on sites like Nextdoor and Kijiji to save some money.

Once you’ve set up your bench, teach your kids how to do basic weight-lifting exercises safely, including squats, bench presses, rows, deadlifts and overhead presses. Over time, you can add on additional equipment, such as dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands and a pull-up bar, to your garage gym so they can get a full-body workout from the comfort of home.

Encourage Them

The best way to support your child’s athleticism is simple and free — provide the encouragement they need. Having your support gives your children the self-esteem to pursue their dreams and work for the things that matter to them. To effectively encourage kids in any endeavor, always be sincere and honest, because empty praise isn’t helpful. Be specific in your compliments, and be sure to praise their process and the amount of effort they put in rather than their ability. You want to teach your kids that it’s more important to do their best than it is to be the best.

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Supporting the little athletes in your life doesn’t have to break the bank. By signing up for a fun run as a family, you get some quality bonding time while helping your child train. With the simple addition of a basketball hoop, you give them an at-home activity that improves hand/eye coordination. Look for an inexpensive, used weight bench, and teach them the basics of weight training to improve strength. Finally, the most important action you can take is to support your child. Giving them honest feedback and praise helps build their self-esteem so they get the most out of sports.

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