During the tournament trail, baseball and softball fields across the country are alive with kids. Parents line up in folding chairs or squeeze on bleachers, cheering on their children. Plenty of attention goes to the kids’ coaches, but just like in most families, someone plays a key position without a lot of recognition – baseball and softball team moms.
Listed below are some miscellaneous tips to help these hard-working unsung team players, our Team Moms.
Make sure your Babe Ruth Leaguer has what he or she needs for each game. Basic equipment includes bat, glove helmet…but if your child has a special position such as pitcher or catcher, make sure they have the equipment they need to be safe. Pack everything ahead of time to avoid a rush gathering items as you whisk out the door.
Stay Cool and Be Safe
Tournament games are played during the hot summer months. Staying cool while standing in a hot outfield can be challenging, but there are some easy strategies that can aid in avoiding heat related illnesses.
- Make sure your Babe Ruth Leaguer and your family drink plenty of water. Sports drinks are great for replacing electrolytes but avoid more than 8-12 ounces per game. Many sports drinks contain sweeteners and artificial dyes that can cause an upset stomach when too much is consumed. Stick with good, old-fashioned cold water for rehydrating and keeping cool.
- Make sure your child wears their ball hat to keep the sun off their head and face. Have them remove it when sitting in a shaded dugout.
- Be Sun Safe. Getting too much sun can be risky. UVA and UVB rays can cause a bad sunburn and can cause the progressive skin damage that leads to skin cancer. The sun is most dangerous between 10:00 am. And 4:00 p.m. We suggest you bring and use sunscreen that is water and sweat resistant with a SPF of 15 or higher (for very fair skin, use SPF 30 or higher) that has broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied halfway through games, practices or other activities. Apply it even on cloudy days, as 80% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can sneak through the clouds on the most overcast days.
- In addition to protecting your child’s skin, wearing sunglasses is essential when you’re on the baseball or softball diamond. Just as ultraviolent rays can burn and damage skin cells, they can also harm unprotected eyes. Babe Ruth League, Inc. is proud to name Under Armour Eyewear (exclusively developed and manufactured by EyeKing, LLC) as its official sunglasses. Under Armour Eyewear performance and core styles feature superior lenses that protect players 100% from harmful UVA/B/C rays. For further information, please visit https://uaeyewearpro.com/ or www.baberuthleague.org .
- Bring frozen neck wraps. Soak a washcloth with water and wring out excess; roll it up tightly and place in a plastic bag. Freeze it overnight and pack in a cooler to take to the game. While your Babe Ruth Leaguer is on the bench waiting to bat, place the frozen washcloth on the back of his/her neck to help keep them cool. Replace the wrap back in the bag and keep it in your cooler between innings.
- Consider purchasing a portable canopy tent for guaranteed shade at every field.
- In between tournament games, have your child wear flip flops to help their hot, sweaty feet stay cool and dry between games. Keep unscented baby wipes on hand to wash the face, hands and feet between games to cool and refresh.
Keep Siblings Busy
Older siblings are usually good at entertaining themselves or may even watch the game, but be sure to bring what is necessary to keep little ones within eyesight and from disrupting others. Avoid things like bubbles and balls that can venture onto the field and distract players as well as toys that make noise and may potentially irritate other spectators.
Crayons and coloring books are a great way to keep little ones entertained for a short while. Crayons can easily melt in the hot summer heat, so try storing them in a sealable plastic storage bag and keep in the cooler when not in use. Cards, books and board games that interest your young ones are other quiet forms of entertainment. Avoid electronic devices such as portable DVD players, iPods and tablets that may overheat in the summer sun, go dead mid-game or be lost.
Eating Healthy at Tournament Time
With summer baseball and softball tournaments replacing family vacations for many sports parents, it’s easy to get in a “vacation mindset” when it comes to nutrition and set aside healthy eating habits. It is hard to eat healthy when there are many different restaurants, fast-food establishments and concession stands that serve delicious, but not really healthy foods.
During tournament time, you need to ensure that your child is eating a high carbohydrate, moderate protein and low fat diet which studies show are necessary for optimal performance.
Fruits, vegetables and grains are dietary staples. These foods provide carbohydrates, which are the primary fuel source when they are working hard at practice or during games. Proteins are necessary and unique components, including hormones and enzymatic proteins, critical for the developing the brain and immune system and the growth of the body’s supporting structures (muscle, collagen, hair).
Realistically, fats will be second only to carbohydrates in terms of calorie contributors in a diet. When kids eat them, try to have them steer clear of the unhealthy versions and towards those that can make them healthier. Unhealthy fats include butter, the fat around meat, fats in most fried foods and the fat in whole dairy products. Healthy fats are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in fish and a variety of plant sources, such as nuts.
Fortunately, many concession stands are offering healthier alternatives. And an occasional treat is fine but should not be the mainstay of your child’s diet plan. However, to be on the safe side, be sure to pack healthy snacks for your family, like fruits, low-fat cheese snacks, granola bars, nuts, trail mix, yogurt tubes, sunflower seeds, rice cakes, light sandwiches (grilled chicken or low-fat peanut butter on whole grain) or some fresh vegetables for snacking before and after the game. And of course, do not forget those bottles of water, sports drinks and juice boxes.
Sample Tournament Checklist
_____ Uniform Shirt, Pants, Hat and Socks
_____ Sneakers, Cleats, Shoes
_____ Change of Clothes
_____ Flip Flops
_____ Batting Glove
_____ Ball Glove
_____ Seat Towel
_____ Canopy Tent
_____ Hangers (hang shirts in between games to
Help dry from sweat)
_____ Phone Charger
_____ Extra Money
CANVAS TOTE BAG
_____ Paper towels, plastic forks/spoons
_____ Sunscreen and Bug Repellant
_____ Unscented Wipes
_____ Binder to store schedules, team info, etc.
_____ First Aid Kit
_____ Sports Drinks
_____ Juice Boxes
_____ Frozen Neck Wraps/Wash Cloths
_____ Ice and Ice Bags
_____ Perishable Snacks
SPECIAL ITEMS FOR GAME
BASEBALL/SOFTBALL MOM RULES
- Cheer Them On. Seems simply and obvious. However, some moms want to correct and coach them, and point out what they did wrong. Let the coaches do that. Be with them, encourage them, help them be as good as they can be, but most of all at the end of the day, win or lose, tell them you love them and are proud of them.
- Leave the Game at the Field. Leave the game at the field when you get in the car. When they are young, they should just be having fun and not rehashing what happened. As they get older, they already know what they did right and wrong. Let them move on.
- Surround Yourself with Good People. The most important thing your kid will learn on the field has nothing to do with baseball or softball. Find coaches and introduce adults whose personality and efforts exemplify the characteristics of someone they can imitate.
- Remind Yourself – It’s a Small World After All. Be nice. It’s hard to imagine how many people become ugly, personal and hurtful during a game. And there’s a good chance your kids will play together another day.
- Toughen’ up. We’ve seen a lot of injuries on the field and a lot of tears. Some of it from our own children, and some from kids we love. Let the coaches handle it until they ask you to help. This is a tough one. But your kid will probably bounce back a lot quicker without you running onto the field.
- Let Them Lose. Some of the best lessons are learned from a loss. Our kids are going to face tough times in life. They are not always going to win. Let them learn to never give up, to trust their teammates, and to give it their all.
- Push Until It’s Time. Sometimes your child may not give it his/her all, not want extra workouts or not want to go to practice. You will know when he or she decides to no longer play. And you will support that. But until you reach that point, push your child to give his or her best.
- Enjoy It. Love your hours at the ball field. Remember, your child is doing what he or she loves best. They learn life lessons both on and off the field. Watch them grow into happy, healthy and responsible adults.
As the baseball and softball days grow shorter, the memories will stretch forever. One thing for sure, baseball or softball will be so much more than a game. It will be a solid foundation for your child’s life. And for now, hope the game goes into extra innings, as your child’s time as a youth goes by fast.