If your kids have become a little too acquainted with the TV or spend too much time surfing online, it is sometimes difficult to find inventive ways to get them out of the house and engaging in sporting activities. In fact, it is music to the ears of any parent when your child announces “I want to learn how to play [insert sport here]!” for the first time. When it comes to basketball, they will receive a great workout, learn how to co-operate with others and experience the rewards that come with successfully working as a team with others who yearn to be the victors. Developing a healthy competitive nature will also ready any child for the gung ho challenges that go hand-in-hand with the types of sport played as a teenager in high school.
If your child has recently taken up an interest in basketball and would like to begin playing, there are many pieces of equipment that you will need to purchase. If you are somewhat wary of what to buy, or perhaps feel a little nervous of buying the wrong items, here are a few helpful hints to bear in mind when you begin shopping.
Basketball shoes: With shoes, the “expensive equals better” adage certainly does not ring true every time, and price almost never guarantees any kind of higher level of protection from injury either. Spending more than $150 on a pair of shoes is foolish, especially as a child’s feet will continue to grow over time. Look to the midrange $60-to-$90 shoes, and ensure that your child understands that a certain brand is nothing more than a street cred boost; those fancy schmancy Nike, Under Armour or Adidas shoes will not mean a thing when your opponent unceremoniously trounces you. Comfort takes the highest priority, because foot pain can be hugely detrimental, and, no matter how snazzy your footwear, your child will suffer from a poor purchasing choice. The rubber bottom (outsole) of any good shoe should be both flat and wide, to create a stable base helping to prevent ankle rolls. A three-quarter cut will also offer effective ankle stability.
Ankle brace: If your child has not had an ankle injury in recent memory, there is no reason to buy – or wear – an orthotic device. However, if they have suffered sometime in the past and have a hard time finding an ankle brace that will fit, think about a custom device. Although a little expensive, players with uninterrupted foot and/or ankle pain will not receive sufficient protection from a store-bought brace. Those with flat feet or abnormally high arches may also benefit from a tailor-made device.
Shirts: Playing in a traditional cotton tee will only lead to a sweat-logged child, and that is pleasant for no-one. With a synthetic moisture-resistant shirt, any dampness will hopefully be reduced or negated altogether. Remember that a dry kid is a happy kid!
Shorts: Echoing the advice regarding shirts, shorts should also be made from synthetic materials. As for their length, that is up to you!
Mouth guard: Regardless of the level of competition, any basketball game can become aggressive: Anyone who has felt the sudden sting of an elbow in the teeth will testify to this! Therefore, it is highly advisable for your youngster to wear a mouth guard that offers at least a modicum of protection. Recent studies have even spotted a link between the presence of concussion amongst players who refuse to play with a mouth guard. Boil-and-bite mouth guards (drop it in hot water before biting down on it, and it will mold to the inside of your mouth) will definitely help your offspring to endure any painful collisions they encounter.
If you try to remember a handful of these tips, you will be able to make some educated purchases for any wannabe MVPs in your family.