April 9, 2013 By Diane Hofftnaster
“It is a great balance between convenience and style that will hold a ton of your kids sports gear and make it easy to carry from field to court.”
Kids Sports: Tips for Surviving a Season of Chaos
My children are very active in a number of different kids sports which causes quite a bit of chaos around the house some days. Sometimes I feel like we are pulled in a million different directions and the bills, gear, and time commitments can get to be overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, kids sports have a lot of benefits. Keeping kids physically active is one of the best ways to combat childhood obesity. It also keeps them from spending 8 hours a day in front of the TV. Or telling me ‘Mom, I’m bored’ a hundred times a day. Getting them out to run around for a couple hours does wonders for my sanity! However, if you are going to venture into the world of kids sports, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are a few tips to help you survive the world of kids sports without pulling your hair out in frustration!
1. Be prepared to spend some money: Unfortunately, kids sports are not cheap. Uniforms, appropriate shoes, balls, club fees, travel costs…it all adds up to put quite a dent in your budget. Look for secondhand gear at places like Play It Again Sports or on Craigslist and Freecycle. Ask the parents of older players on the team if they have any hand me down uniforms that you could buy. Our swim team has a suit swap to help find suits for younger swimmers. Carpool whenever possible to cut costs on gasoline.
2. Get your calender organized: If you have more than one child in more than one kids sports you are going to need a calender to keep track of things. Hang it on the wall in the kitchen and give each child and/or sport it’s own color coded marker. Blue means soccer practice for Billy and Red means running club for Rachel. Whatever works to help you keep track of matches, practice, team parties, etc.
3. Pack yourself a sports bag: No, you do not need to back yourself a racket and balls but you might want to pack yourself something to keep busy during practice. While I enjoy watching my kids play, I don’t really want to do it for a solid hour. Pack a book, snack, drink, knitting, or whatever else is going to keep you busy while your kid works up a sweat.
4. Learn to say NO: It is important to realize that family time is sacred. You cannot spend quality time with family if you are always on the go with your kids. Have each child choose the sports that they most want to play and then say no to everything else. This is the hardest one for me actually follow myself. I finally put my foot down when my daughter wanted to add volleyball to her already packed schedule of gymnastics, running club, tennis, Girl Scouts and piano. There are only so many hours in a day! Next year she is considering giving up gymnastics to do volleyball. Helping kids prioritize their commitments will be helpful later in life.
5. Keep your gear contained and ready to go: If you have shin guards in the closet, the soccer ball in the garage and the water bottle missing, you will never make it on time to practice. Find a bag like the ones made by Swiss Precision to help store and carry your gear. The Swiss Precision new Baller’s Bag is the official bag of the American Basketball Association (ABA). It is a great balance between convenience and style that will hold a ton of your kids sports gear and make it easy to carry from field to court. Not only can it fit a ton of your gear but the TSA checkpoint friendly pocket fits an iPad/Tablet or a 15 to 17- inch laptop. Instead of individual designs for each sport, the same Baller’s Bag design accommodates gear for basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, boxing, etc. It offers dual water bottle mesh pockets, a file compartment, and comfortable shoulder pads. There are large, separate, side compartments for shoes and smaller compartments for cell phones, keys, etc. Your ball also has it’s own home inside this bag. You can carry the ball inside the backpack in the built in ball pocket, or on the outside in the patent pending mini tote.The color and designs work well for both boys or girls.
My opinion: I received the Ballers Bag Pro 17.3 to try out with my kids and their sports gear. I am seriously impressed with how roomy this bag is. We had no trouble storing tennis rackets, balls, snacks, water, extra clothes, a volleyball and several other things in one bag. My daughter loaded it up and walked about a mile to the courts to practice and said it was extremely comfortable to wear. It comes with a few smaller totes inside if you want to store your football, cleats, or whatever else separately. The really cool part about this bag is the ball storage system. There is a zippered section on the front of the pack and when you unzip it, a mesh liner comes out a little bit that will hold your basketball, volleyball, soccerball, etc. You put the ball inside the bag and just sortof guide it into the mesh pocket. That way, the ball doesn’t take up the entire interior of the bag. I think it is a rather ingenious creation, personally! Kids sports require an awful lot of gear and by allowing the ball to have it’s own exterior mesh pocket, you have plenty of room still inside for other sports stuff.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Baller’s Bag that we received to try out and it will get a lot of use. My son is already begging for a set of pads for Taekwondo and he will need a way to carry them back and forth to sparring sessions. This bag is certainly going to get a lot of use and it seems plenty sturdy to hold up to it!
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