In our previous blog post, “5 reasons why kids should play sport” we explained the importance of kids being involved in sport. Including such benefits as: improving health, increasing self-esteem and confidence, and encouraging teamwork, communication and leadership skills. However, kids sport usually means one thing – Weekend game days.
For your child nothing beats the excitement of game day. I’m not sure all parents agree. For parents it usually means no sleep in, its cold usually wet and always some last-minute drama of ‘where are my shoes?’ or unwashed sport shorts from Thursday night training, as well as the arduous task of trying to find a different venue each week.
We understand the benefits for our kids, but how do we as parents survive it?
- Have a strong routine.
Have those uniforms organized the night before, and right before bed make sure you google the location, so you know where you are heading ahead of time. Make sure you treat yourself along the way to reward yourself for the successful taxiing of however many kids to each game. Whether it be with a coffee or a family meal after the game. Treat yourself. Instead of thinking of it as a weekend chore, try think of it as your weekend ritual.
- Give the kids responsibility.
Yes, you may be the designated taxi driver, but that doesn’t mean you should also be the dry cleaner, the chef and the maid as well. Playing sport comes with responsibilities and weekend game days are a perfect opportunity to teach your kids responsibility. Make it their job to get breakfast, or to put out uniforms after training to ensure they are washed in time, help them take responsibility for their participation.
- Get Involved.
For some the last thing you want to do is spend your Saturday working behind a canteen or a sausage sizzle at your kid’s sport especially after doing 9-5 all week. But there are more than just benefits for your kids playing sport, there are benefits for parents too.
Weekend sport is a great way to stay social and be involved in the community. Positive reinforcement by cheering kids on at each match is rewarding for yours kids, but also seeing their excitement when they get a goal or win can be priceless to you. Being involved can also make the morning feel a lot more productive than just hiding out in your car would.
We hope this helps make this weekends sport a little more bearable. And after why not come reward yourself with a little shopping spree at Sportsmart 😉 Good luck to all our Team Smart teams playing this weekend.
At Sportsmart, we offer bat preparation for you:
New natural-faced cricket bats need to be oiled and knocked in before play. The deluxe cricket bat preparation will eliminate hours of manual preparation. Please allow 4-5 business days for this service to be completed.*
If you prefer to do your own bat prep, follow the steps below:
Cricket bats are made primarily from two different types of wood. English Willow or Kashmir Willow. Both are very soft types of wood, and require preparation before they can be used to hit a cricket ball.
There are four stages involved in preparing your cricket bat:
1. Pressing, 2. Oiling, 3. Knocking In, 4. Playing In.
Stage 1: Pressing
Pressing the bat is important for two reasons. 1) It strengthens the fibers in the bat, and 2) Saves hours off the knocking in process. Some brands already do this stage for you, i.e. Kookaburra (KPP), but it doesn’t hurt to do a little bit more yourself.
Most bat prepping is done using a machine. Or using a mallet to knock it in, however this takes twice as long.
Stage 2: Oiling
Oiling helps reduce the chance that your cricket bat will crack or split. Oiling your bat helps to maintain moisture levels within the bat.
- Using Linseed Oil, apply a light coat to the face, edge, toe and back of the blade – avoid the stickers and splice area. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Then, using a very fine sand paper (+180), give your cricket bat a light sanding. Reapply a light coat to the face.
- 2-3 coats should be sufficient. Allow each coat to dry fully (it’s best to dry your cricket bat in a slightly elevated horizontal position).
Stage 3: Knocking In
Knocking-in is probably the most vital stage in the preparation process. This process compresses the fibers in the wood, protecting the bat against ball impact. If done correctly, this can increase a cricket bat’s performance and lifespan.
- Using a special bat mallet or an old quality cricket ball, carefully and repeatedly strike the bat (increasing the force gradually) in any area where one may hit the ball. The edges and toe should not be struck directly at right-angles to the blade as this can cause damage.
- This stage should take a minimum of 6 hours (every bat varies).
- Finally, using an old quality cricket ball, hit some short catches. If the seam, on the ball, leaves a mark, go back and continue knocking in. Allow at least another hour for this stage.
Stage 4: Playing In
This stage is important to determine if you have knocked-in the bat well enough.
- At this stage, the cricket bat can be used in nets with a soft ball. If the ball contact leaves a mark on the bat, go back and repeat the knocking in process for another hour until no marks are left on the bat.
*Our services should not be considered as full preparation – you still need to work your bat in against an old ball prior to use against new hard balls.
Shop our range of Cricket bats in store and online here.
Basketball can be played on many different surfaces; from synthetic indoor flooring to outdoor, concrete and asphalt. It is important that whatever basketball shoes you pick can withstand the surface that you typically play on. If you play basketball indoors, it is also worth checking if there are any rules about the type of shoe you can use on an indoor court.
In addition to the basketball court surface, the level you are playing at is another big factor to consider when purchasing basketball shoes. A casual player may opt for a better value option than a highly competitive player who plays multiple times a week. Other important aspects to consider when purchasing your new basketball shoes include:
- Cushioning and stability
Basketball requires many start–stop movements along with quick direction changes, running and jumping. A basketball shoe that hasn’t got enough cushioning can result in strong jolts in your legs. For the sake of your joints, it is important to ensure you have a correct fitting shoe, as well as shoes with enough cushioning, stability and grip to ensure you don’t hurt yourself or jar your joints. A good quality shoe with a strong grip is perfect for basketball, to ensure you don’t slip over with any sudden direction changes.
It is important to ensure the fitting of basketball shoes is perfect. Again, with the amount of movement involved in basketball it is easy to roll an ankle. One way to help prevent this is to ensure your feet are snug in your shoes, to prevent any extra movement within the shoes. This also helps to prevent blisters due to rubbing. A better fitting basketball shoe will also provide more comfort and overall support.
It is inevitable that your feet will get hot and sweat, no matter what sport you play. To reduce this effect, choose good-quality, breathable basketball shoes. They will be more comfortable and better fitting, with less pressure on your feet.
So, we’ve helped you pick a basketball system…now how to pick the perfect ball. After all, you can’t play basketball without a basketball!
When looking for a basketball, be aware that there are different sizes available for different age groups. The following is a standard basketball size guide:
- For ages 3+ (Male & Female): Size 3
- For ages 5-8 (Male & Female): Size 5
- For ages 9–12 (Male Only): Size 6
- Women aged 9+: Size 6
- Men aged 13+: Size 7
These sizes fit consistently and comfortably across the different age groups.
Additionally, depending on whether you are playing indoor or outdoor basketball, you may want a ball with a different texture. Outdoor balls will need to be tougher than indoor to last well on the concrete courts. Some people simply prefer the feel of one type of ball over the other, in which case it is always best to pick what feels most comfortable to you.
What is the point of compression wear?
Compression wear is the best to wear when engaging in demanding physical activity. It helps boost circulation – resulting in more oxygen being transported to the active muscles, helping to improve performance. Compression wear can also help to reduce muscle fatigue. Compression wear is lightweight, breathable and body firming, making it ideal for both low and high impact training, competition as well as recovery.
How does compression wear work?
Compression wear works through the use of strategically placed panels. These panels wrap and support the major muscles being used in physical activity. Compression wear helps to reduce vibration and fatigue in the muscles. It can also help to keep you feeling dry, as the material is designed to wick moisture away from the skin. Many high-end compression brands contain a 50+ UV protection, making it perfect to wear all year round.
How does compression wear fit?
Most compression brands determine size using the BMI index, weight and height. Compression wear should be quite tight to work effectively.
At Sportsmart we stock compression tights, tops, shorts and socks. We also offer both normal compression and thermal compression – perfect for winter.
Skins have come out with the Skins ‘Team’ range which is a more affordable price range with the same high quality they have always produced.
Having just completed Connor’s Run on the weekend, I experienced that all too familiar burning pain in the side of your abdomen that signals a stitch. It makes any runner want to stop in their tracks until that pain subsides. So, I decided to do some research to understand what causes this familiar pain and the best way to prevent it from happening in the first place.
What is a stitch?
Basically, a stitch occurs when there is a reduction in blood flow to the diaphragm. There is no definite reason as to why this occurs. Theories suggest it is caused by pressure from the legs on to the diaphragm from below, in addition to quick breathing putting on pressure from above, resulting in the muscle pinching and cutting off the blood and oxygen supply.
How can you prevent a stitch?
1. Stay hydrated: Ensure you are well hydrated in the 12 hours before exercising.
2. Don’t eat too much food or sugar: Avoid large quantities of food in the 2 hours prior to exercising. Also stay away from sugary drinks and lollies.
3. Deep breaths: Most runners swear by deep, steady breathing to help avoid a stitch. If this doesn’t help, try slowing your pace and reducing intensity until the sensation subsides.
See a doctor if you experience persistent pain following exercise.
At Sportsmart, we are passionate about kids’ participation in sport. Here are some of the benefits:
- Sport improves physical health.
- Participation in sport at any age promotes health and wellness. Instilling this philosophy in children is the best way to promote health and wellness not only when they are young but for the rest of their lives. Learning these habits as a kid makes it easier to maintain as we get older.
- Sport increases self-esteem and confidence.
- Playing sport helps to establish a healthy self-esteem and can boost confidence. Seeing the results of practice pay off on match days, and the positive reinforcement and encouragement from parents, coaches and teammates, will improve a child’s self-esteem and confidence in their abilities.
- Sport encourages teamwork, communication and leadership skills.
- Team sports require teamwork, communication and leadership: three important criteria that an adult is required to be able to demonstrate when going for any job. Learning these skills as a child provides a great base for future success.
- Sport is a good way to relieve stress.
- Physical activity produces endorphins, which make you happy. Sport is a great outlet for stress relief, and to reduce the effects of negative emotions.
- Sport is fun!
- The biggest reason for kids to engage in sport is simply because it is FUN! So get out there and get your children involved in sport!