Travel Time Issue – Youth Athlete Travel
Travel time in a vehicle or plane is a part of being an athlete. Coaches and parents can help make it easier. If the trip is a longer one, it could involve a time change that will make adjustments to new surroundings more difficult.
Travel time to competitions is a part of life for youth athletes. As young children, it usually involves a car ride with parents to the local gym or playing field, and usually those trips are fairly short, seldom taking more than an hour. When athletes get older and start to travel longer distances for individual, school or club competitions, those distances can increase dramatically, particularly when youth athletes come from smaller towns and must travel to bigger cities to compete.
Travel for these athletes is usually done by bus or van, which means traveling in close proximity with teammates. This can be great for team building and forming tight bonds that can make athletes into better friends and better teammates during this travel time, but it can also have negative effects.
Every youth athlete will have a different routine when it comes to using their travel time to a competition. Some will read, some play video games or spend time on a Smartphone or PDA, some will sleep and others will want to do nothing but be social.
This sort of diversity is to be expected, because no two kids are alike, but it also can fray nerves and cause tension. Youth athletes seeking to use the time to sleep or read won’t take kindly to ones who are playing loud music or wanting to gossip all the way to the tournament. The key to getting everyone to the tournament in a positive frame of mind is for the adult(s) in the vehicle to set a schedule and maintain order during the trip.
The coach or parent in charge should make all youth athletes aware of the approximate travel time, and provide regular updates as the vehicle nears its destination, along with giving directives such as “We’ll be there in 30 minutes, start getting yourself mentally prepared.” Even though the athletes are in a vehicle instead of their school or home, they can still maintain the same mental schedule for preparing for a competition.
An additional caveat must be made for teams traveling to large tournaments. These events often get off schedule and delays can lead to games and matches not starting for minutes or even hours after they are scheduled. It is the parents’ and coaches’ responsibility to keep themselves and their teams as informed as possible about potential delays. This is a good teaching opportunity for young athletes to learn how to be adaptable and flexible to changing situations.
Travel time can be boring but having a specific plan that is developed with your youth athletes on what to do to use the time effectively, can make it a positive experience for everyone.
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Jacques Delorme has coached for more than 25 years at all age levels and is a certified coach in five sports with a strong background in nutrition. He is the founder of this site. Would you like to be a GUEST AUTHOR? Let me know using the CONTACT FORM. Trying to gain muscle but do not want to gain fat in the process? Here is how I do it! – Click Here