Tips for How Team Sports Families Can Be Outdoorsy Families Too!
Middle school is a really interesting time to be alive. It’s when you start forming your personhood. Who you might become starts to emerge—and of course—who you might not want to be too. As a middle school teacher, I was witness to so many “aha” moments. Here's how this particular moment began:
I was opening up my lesson on geology in my 6th grade science classroom by showing photos of cool geologic features in Colorado. Photos of the mountains, rocks, and Rocky Mountain National park flashed on the screen. These features were no more than thirty miles from the school I was teaching in. As my favorite rocks and mountains were presented, most of my students were clueless as to where these naturals wonders were located. I couldn't believe it. They lived spitting distance from these beautiful outdoor marvels. Some could even be seen from the windows of the school. When I asked why they hadn't ever stepped foot on trails or visited the national park they replied with “we’re a soccer family”, “we’re a hockey family”, “ we’re a baseball family”, and so on.
The “aha” moment:
Having team sports in your family is truly a gift—they build confidence, team work, grit and they're healthy. However, you can be a team sports family and an outdoorsy family—the two are not mutually exclusive. Also, hiking, playing in the dirt, scrambling on rocks, paddling a kayak on a lake or any other experience in nature can be your “sport.”
If your family is into sports, you’re already outside enjoying the sunshine. Adding a jaunt up the path, down to the creek, or into a national park is just a bonus.
Here are some tips to help your family connect being in nature and team sports:
- Create a scavenger hunt.
- If kids are highly motivated by their sports, talk about hiking, paddling, biking, rock climbing or other outdoor activities as cross training or off-season training.
- Walking on uneven ground is great for balance, agility and coordination.
- Paddle sports can build core and upper-body strength.
- Biking can help build lower-body and arm strength.
- Rock climbing can build upper-body, core and lower-body strength
- Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and climbing, are sports too! Talk about them to your kids like they are trying a new sport. Because they are!
- Additionally, a great benefit of these outdoor sports is that they can be done without an organized team and as a result can be done for life.
- Bring a ball and play some catch on a hike (while still respecting wildlife and other hikers).
- Utilize the outdoors as a way to spend time together as a family (we know—finding a balance between team sports and family can be a challenge).
- Consider planning a camping trip or day trip outdoors when there is a break in the sports schedule.
- Suggest a hike or bike ride as a way to downshift from the pressure and stress team sports may bring on.
- There are many mental and emotional benefits of being outdoors and they may help your kids and teens be more mindful too.
Nature is for everyone. Be an “outdoorsy family” and enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer on the trails, rocks, and rivers.
To help your kids with off-season training, learning new outdoor sports (that they can return to for life and can teach you too) and making new friends, consider the confidence building Adventure Day and Overnight Camps for pre k - 12th graders. Avid4 Adventure summer camp locations include cities in California, Colorado and Oregon. Click the link below to receive more information (including discounts and special offers).