Be Safe & Enjoy Your Sport
Jen Fox provides some advice on how to be safe while participating in the sports you enjoy.
Just as soccer players need shin guards and hockey players need dental plans, athletes everywhere know that having the right protective equipment is crucial. An athlete's body, team, and career all depend on him/her having the right gear. Owning the appropriate protective equipment is the first step, but then you have to use it.
Athletes of every sport are given a list of required protective equipment. This does not mean that you have to stop at what is needed. It is up to you to make the right choice for your body. Find out what you are allowed to use that is not required and determine whether or not it would be beneficial for you to use it. Like in professional soccer, just because a groin cup is not required does not mean it is not a good idea.
As of 2013, the number of people playing organised sports was: just over 1.64 million people playing ice hockey, 60 million playing golf, and 265 million playing soccer.
The issue comes in being able to choose the right gear for you. There is a vast array of things to consider when looking for protective equipment such as style, size, materials, and shape. Mouthguards, for example, need to be just right for your mouth, or else they will cut your gums, fall out while running, or not cover your teeth all the way. Remember, a hobby, or career could start and end with your first game if you don't have the right protective gear. Goaliemonkey.com offers a comprehensive list of masks and other equipment that you can browse through.
Protective equipment is not the only thing you should be thinking about in terms of safety, though. Training plays a vital role in, not only your fitness but your ability to avoid and recover from injury. Typically, coaches of semi-professional and professional teams are trained to conduct training properly, so your body is resilient to injury. What do you do before you are on a paid team? There are plenty of resources out there for you.
Forums are a great place to start. While non-professionals hold the discussions, much of the information is drawn from sites like fitclick.com and muscleandfitness.com. These are great places to find professional resources if you have a hard time finding sites you like. Learn from them. A good philosophy to keep in mind is, “Learn from other people's mistakes, so I do not make them myself”. Other folks might have insight as to how you can improve your training regimen to avoid various injuries. Another excellent resource is online training coaches. Many professional coaches choose to expand their client base by reaching out to the internet. These coaches typically have decades of experience in athletic training and coaching. Their sites generally offer conditioning information, work-out routines, injury prevention and recovery techniques, and the ability to ask them direct questions.
Of all the various aspects of being an athlete, your health and safety are most important. It is what allows you to get out there and do what you love. If you are talented and lucky enough, it is what enables you to make money for your family, charity, or garage. Always remember, no matter what the required protective equipment is for your sport of choice, you can choose to be safer. While as an amateur athlete, you may have practice two or three times a week and a game on the weekend but staying resilient to injury requires your training. Utilize the resources that are out there for you and keep doing what you love.
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About the Author
Jen Fox is a freelance writer.