One of the best ways to help your kids stay organized so they can perform at their best in sports is to make sure they have a well-equipped sports bag, which is easy to fill, store and grab.
Here's what I recommend your child or teen's sports bag include:
- Sports gear (shoes, shinpads, goalie gloves, stick etc.)
- Clean game or practice uniform (Note: given the rise in cases of antibiotic-resistant skin infections such as MRSA, athletes should keep dirty practice and game uniforms and towels separate from clean clothing and towels in their lockers and gym bags and bring the soiled clothing home in a separate bag for laundering every day)
- Protective eyewear (e.g. sports goggles)
- Bug spray
- Two mouth guards (a mouthguard should be replaced as soon as it becomes distorted or develops sharp jagged edges or after 14 days of regular use, whichever comes first) remember the Mouth Guard rinse to clean them.
- Mini first-aid/medical kit
- Extra pair of eyeglasses/contacts
- Eyeglass emergency screw kit
- Energy Bars or Gel
- Water/sports drink
- Disposable rain poncho
- Gloves & hat
- Extra socks
- Hand/feet warmers
- Extra set of dry clothes, including underwear
- Emergency cash
- Keys (flat plastic/credit card type)
- Emergency Contact Numbers
- Duplicate Team ID
An additional suggestion for high school athletes old enough to drive to games or practices, or for kids who arrive home before their parents get home from work: store the car and/or house keys in a small plastic container so they are easier to locate amidst all the clutter of the bag, or hang them on a lanyard around their necks.
Taking gym on the road
Other pieces of equipment to consider for possible inclusion when an athlete is on the road are:
- a one-foot cylindrical foam roller: rolling different muscle groups across a large piece of foam as part of an athlete's warm-up routine helps get them ready for exercise; a foam roller can also help speed recovery time from intensive training and sports participation; and
- some simple, easily-transportable strength and conditioning tools.
Updated December 13, 2011