Wherever you go, it’s easy to find kids involved in sports. There could be a baseball field with organized teams or just a basketball hoop on a barn with a couple of kids shooting around. Whatever the case, sports are a great way for your child to stay active and to develop in a variety of ways.
For the average game of catch in the backyard, there’s not a lot of need for equipment–a ball and a couple of old gloves will complete the list. But once your child has moved up to a more competitive situation, there will be a number of equipment purchases you will need to make.
Before anything else, think of your child’s safety. It’s not whether you win or lose, and it’s not even how you play the game. It’s whether your child avoids injury if at all possible.
That’s not to say you can prevent every single scrape or sprain. You cannot. You can’t even avoid more serious injuries sometimes. But you can do a lot to lower the risk of an injury and to minimize the impact of injuries that do occur.
A good first step is making sure your child can see! Many parents worry that their child will break his or her glasses, so they have the child play without them. Depending on the prescription, that may not be an issue, but some kids are more likely to get hurt without their glasses. That’s when you need to check out safety glasses. You can do this with your local optician or you can try online options like Wiley X Prescription Safety Glasses, which will provide protection and correction for your child’s eyes.
No matter what sport your child plays, there will be some specific things he or she needs in order to participate. Their sport may be as simple as running track, which requires good shoes along with comfortable clothing designed for running, or it may be as complex as baseball, which requires a specific type of bat, a well-fitted fielding glove (and much more for catchers), batting gloves, and a batting helmet.
Don’t be cheap here. In the first season or so, you might equip your player at yard sales or by swapping among friends, but once it’s clear he or she is in for the long haul, invest in gear that will improve performance and prevent injuries like concussions. Consult with coaches and other neutral advisors (not always salespeople) about the type, configuration, size, material, and so forth before buying, and make sure everything is a good match.
Not everything your athlete needs will ever be on the field or in the pool with him or her. There are a number of items that are well worth having in the dugout or the locker room.
Hydration is always a big issue, so you’ll want to think about a good insulated cup or even a cooler. This will help keep drinks cold and ready to go, as well as ensuring that your child is always drinking from his or her own bottle.
Then there are the gear bags. Almost every sport requires enough equipment to call for a bag of some type. Get a bag that will protect all those expensive items from damage, moisture, and even theft. Make it ergonomic and comfortable for your player to carry from the bus to the field and back.
There is a reason sports are so popular. They help with mental and physical development, building character and health. They teach leadership, sportsmanship, and the ability to work with others. Sometimes the difference between getting those benefits by staying in the sport and missing out by quitting is equipment, either because the player fears injury or because the gear just isn’t good enough to help the player develop their skills to the point that they will want to stay involved.
When your child commits to a sport, you should commit yourself to protect him or her, and to ensure that the experience is positive and educational. The right equipment will make that happen.