Stay Hydrated! If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. To prevent dehydration, drink water or sports drink before, during and after all athletic activities. Avoid soft drinks, coffee, tea and fruit juices. To determine if you have enough fluids in your body, check your urine. If it is a dark, cloudy yellow, you need to drink more. You want your urine to be a pale, clear yellow.
Stretch! Stretching is a vital part of athletic participation. Dynamic stretching before activity prepares your body for training and prevents muscle injuries by reducing tightness and increasing elasticity. Static stretching after activity helps cool down and relax your body.
Wear the Right Gear! Each sport has its own requirements for equipment and protective gear. Make sure everything fits properly. For example, poor fitting shoes can cause problems in your feet, shins, knees and back.
Know Your Sport! Be sure to educate yourself in the fundamentals of your sport. Learn the proper techniques. It is okay to ask questions.
Speak Up! Nobody knows your body better than you. If something hurts or does not feel right, tell someone immediately. Having headaches after being hit in the head or a whiplash mechanism from sport could mean you have a concussion. Stop play immediately and seek a medical professional for further evaluation before returning to play.
Eat Right! As a car needs fuel to run, your body needs energy to function. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet. Fruits, vegetables, water, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals are all essential to growing athletes.
Condition! It is important as an athlete to keep a high level of cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, flexibility and endurance to perform your best. Be careful; there is such a thing as too much. Do not over train.