03 Nov Give Your Young Athlete An Edge by Doing these Unconventional Tips No One Knows
Perhaps you landed on this page because you Googled one of the following:
– “How to give my kid an edge in sports”
– “How to get ahead for a college scholarship”
– “How to make my kid fast”
– “How to find Gandalf for mystical, overnight results”
Or maybe it wasn’t even performance related and you were browsing Katy Perry photos.
I won’t tell anyone you were Googling my doppelganger. ;-O
Anyway, let’s assume you did come here for Katy Perry…and performance training advice.
Nice to have you!
Chances are, you’re a parent or coach with a big heart who wants their young athlete to get better at their sport – to be the fastest, strongest, most skilled, most conditioned and most explosive out there.
You want them to have an edge over their competitors. It makes sense you want them to outshine the masses because everyone is looking similar nowadays.
Everyone is on a high level club team.
Everyone is attending the showcases.
Everyone is competing for national championships.
Everyone is hiring skills trainers.
Everyone is earning starting spots.
But if you want your kid to take it to the next level – I’m talking Iron Man next level – they need to do the unconventional.
No, no, they don’t have to fight Titanium Man, project a missile out of their hands, nor do they have to bench press cars. Although, what I’m about to suggest are things that you may not have heard before from a performance coach, or anyone.
Admittedly, I’ve been deep in the rabbit hole of neuroscience, sleep, gut health and medical podcasts. I’ve been experimenting with my findings and have noticed game changing performance in my physical and mental health.
So without further ado, here are some unconventional tips you’ve never heard before:
1. Have them walk. A lot.
Walking is one of the best exercises a young athlete can do for physical as well as mental recovery.
It gets the body is a parasympathetic state (rest and recover), as well as promotes creative thinking through an alpha brain wave state.
We are meant to move, so walk a lot.
2. Feed them bone broth.
Okay, hear me out on this one. This may sound like I took a sharp left turn here, but bone broth is one of the best soup alternatives packed with vitamins and minerals for young, growing athletes.
If you want them consistently hydrated while also getting their Vitamin A, Calcium, Phosphorous, Zinc and Omega-3s, this stuff is liquid gold. In fact, this is the best source of hydration they can get.
Expounding further, bone broth is packed with collagen, which is the protein a kid (or any human) can have for rebuilding bone, connective tissue, and skin. If they’re having growing pains, or muscle soreness, bone broth allows them to nourish from the inside out and alleviate nagging pain. Here is a great discussion with Dr. Kellyann to give a listen:
At first, I was skeptical and thought it was too good to be true, but it’s not.
Bone broth is the real deal.
3. Put restrictions on screen time.
This is a tough one, but I promise everyone will survive.
Let’s be real: Tik Tok, Instagram and Twitter can be toxic. There’s trolls, influencers who have mastered the art of perfect angles and lighting, and political nonsense, and mind numbing noise.
Take it from a woman who used to be on social media 24/7, who burned out and went to the emergency room, and who finally stepped away from the blue light matrix.
Yeah, it’s not always me tweeting anymore. Surprise!
Recently, I had to outsource my Twitter and Instagram to my assistant because it was causing disruptions in my sleep quality and stress levels.
Too, I wanted more time to focus on coaching, writing, and creating training courses and books for coaches and parents. You know, all the creative, magical stuff that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.
So I urge you: get your child away from the screen. The stress and sleep benefits are huge, and we want your kid as sharp, creative, motivated as possible. When social media becomes an energy suck rather than an energy uplift, that’s when you know they need to take a step back.
Oh! So who is behind my accounts now?
I could’ve hired Megan Fox or an AI robot, or I don’t know, a college student who has time to make some extra money now. You’ll never know. ;-O
4. Make sure they do the daily non-negotiables.
Just like brushing teeth, getting dressed, and showering, there are several movements that are just as paramount to do as daily habits.
Crawling, for one, is an exercise to be done first thing in the day to wake up the left and right brain, work on core stability and total body strength.
I wrote about the other movements in this article Staying Active During Virtual School.
Enjoy and happy moving!
5. Meditate with them.
No, you don’t have to go to a mountain in Tibet for this one.
Nor do you have to burn sage.
Nor do you have to sit under a tree.
Meditation can be as simple as lying down, and focusing on breathing through the nose.
Heck, I’m even doing it now as I write this. All you have to do is sit still with your child, for as little as 5 minutes a day, or as long as you can go. I recommend picking a time of day to commit to meditation, whether it is in the morning before the madness of the day strikes, or during your lunch break.
Meditation is one of the best ways to calm the nervous system, provide more clarity, promote creativity, and revive you of energy. Full disclosure: my Pull-Ups are so graceful because I’m secretly meditating each rep with slow nasal breathing.
6. Give them sunlight two hours a day.
This sounds as simple, but humans are getting outside less and less. They’re glued to their sofas, transfixed by Netflix, and are unaware of how important sunlight is for our health.
Vitamin D not only boosts immunity, it also is needed for healthy bones and muscles. Looking at the physiology of a growing young athlete, their bones are growing at a rapid rate, with the mineral content being the last to develop. In order to optimize this time of bone and muscle development, kids need Vitamin D, and the most natural way to do it is getting outside.
Also, the sun is free.
7. Challenge them to a new stimulus every day.
Kids thrive off of challenges. The human body is designed to be exposed to a new stimulus, adapt and then become stronger. It’s that cool. I’d be remiss not to mention that the mental stimulus is beneficial to – to be presented with an obstacle to overcome, then learn how capable you are of crushing it.
What are some things you can challenge your child with day? A Dodgeball game in the front yard? A pick-up basketball game? A monkey bar hang competition?
8. Have them choose three role models.
Looking to people who are not only performing at a high level, but who exude everything a young athlete aspires to be, from their daily habits, to their behaviors, to the way they talk to others, to the little things they do to get an edge, can your young athlete choose three role models to emulate?
One of my role models is rapper Logic because he doesn’t party, nor does he give into distractions and negativity. He is so dialed in to making music, writing and creating, and his work ethic is second to none. I aspire to be as motivated as him to cut out the noise and stay true to the magic I’m creating for the world.
I always come back to his quote, “I don’t know how to hate because I’m not a hater myself.”
9. Eat organ meat with them.
Sorry if you’re vegan.
Ready to build your child into a beast?
Feed them organ meat.
Now this is something everyone needs to do their own research on, and it is fascinating. Organ meats are what our ancestors thrived on to be strong and develop big brains, as they are full of copious amounts of vitamins, minerals and amino acids for building the body. Every food given to a young athlete must be one that builds them up.
This is the most unconventional one there is, and chances are, you’ve never heard this before. And chances are, you’re grossed out.
Now this isn’t to say start with liver right off the bat. You can do beef heart (best tasting) or kidneys. I know, it sounds grotesque, but we just aren’t used to this type of eating in modern times.
Check out this amazing medical podcast that dives into the research on eating organ meat:
There are hundreds of other discussions on this topic out there, so please continue to dig and do you own research.
10. Journal in an accomplishment diary together.
As parents, you want the best for your kid. You want them to accomplish more, more, more. You want them to set goals and go for them.
While it is amazing to map out a plan, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the wow-they-have-such-a-long-way-to-go mindset. This becomes problematic because you can nitpick their every mistake, shortcoming, and failure.
How about shifting the story and looking back on how much they’ve accomplished?
Accomplishment diaries are great to reflect on the wonderful journey it’s been thus far. Did they go from being on the bench to starting? Did they move up from the third team to the second team? Did they get more shots on goal than they used to? Did they give a one versus one battle a shot? Are they picking their head up more and taking space at speed?
There are a plethora of wins to pat them on the back for.
Have them write their achievements down to see the progress. I always say, sometimes when we climb a mountain, instead of being focused on the peak, look around and enjoy the view every once in a while.
11. Foster the best environment for good health.
Note to parents: as much as us trainers promote good health and proper nourishment to your children, and as much as we have open discussions when we work with them, they only spend a meager amount of time with us.
Maybe 2-6 hours a week.
The other hours, though?
They’re with you.
How is your house an environment for good health and nutrition? What is in the pantry? Are sports and active hobbies readily available? Are there bikes and jump ropes in the garage? Are their pull-up bars in the kitchen doorways? Are their dumbbells in the living room?
Yes, we are facilitators as coaches, and yes, they do listen to us more than you, but a child cannot change their behavior and daily habits unless their environment is set up for them to take our advice.
Health starts at home.
12. Drop them with these sleep hacks.
Sleep is the best recovery a young athlete can do.
Stop spending $100 on Cryo Therapy.
And did I mention, stop icing?
What’s free is, getting your good old-fashioned sleep. It promotes growth hormone production which allows the muscles to recover the best. It also allows athletes to stay motivated, creative and sharp mentally on the pitch.
Here are several sleep hacks I swear by that work every time:
– Expose yourself to sunlight first two hours of day (no sunglasses)
– Get off any screens two hours before bed
– Listen to 528 Hz music
– Dim lights in house two hours before bed
– Magnesium before bed (I like natural via dark chocolate)
– Channel your inner sleeping beauty
13. Grand finale: give them two months off from organized sports.
Want to stick out like a sore thumb and go against the status quo? Give your child off from practices and games two months out of the year.
I promise their skills won’t wither away.
Use this time to travel, have family time, play outside and participate in other hobbies. What will happen is your kid will come back rejuvenated and ready to go hard again.
To give your kid an edge, the basics matter, but the basics should be a non-negotiable anyway.
What are they doing to go above and beyond and truly dial in on the entirety of their health? Sleep, nourishment, daily movement, resistance training, and their environment are the keys to next level performance.
How are you inspiring them to optimize all of these in the household?
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