Parents Corner

Maria Strand, mom to Carl Emil and endurance enthusiast

What sport does your son do?

Basketball.

What is most important to you as a mom of an active child?

Being active is extremely important. It is a big part of my life and has always been. I’ve lost count of the number of sports I have done in my life. The way I see it, being a role model to him and showing him how much I enjoy sports is the best way to encourage him. I also do my best to support him in every way I can to give him the best foundation he can get as a growing athlete. This morning for example, I knew he had a tough cardio session scheduled, so I prepared fried eggs for him. I try to get home early from work to cook nutritious food on the days he has workouts. I prepare snacks for him to bring to practice. I buy him the gear he needs in order to elevate his training performance. I go with him to his trainings and cheer on him as he plays. The sport gives me the means to be very present in my son’s life and interests.

It’s important to do all-round training to build muscles evenly, but it’s a challenge to find the time. He has a gym membership and I take him there sometimes, but with three basketball practices and usually two games a week, it’s hard to squeeze it into our busy schedules.

Why is it important for kids to work out?

Doing sports causes so much joy. It enhances self-esteem and it makes me so happy to see him come home from practice with a big smile on his face. Basketball is also keeping him away from other things. He is twelve and a lot of his friends are hanging out in the town center. If he didn’t have practices that is probably where he would be as well. Through sports, kids also get a chance to enter new social arenas and discover new contexts.

Being part of a team teaches him compassion and teamwork. He learns to take responsibility for something, and he gets to see his own developments. His current team is not as competitive, but focuses more about having fun as a group, and I really like that.

Do you take any injury prevention measures?

I bought him a pair of Rehband knee sleeves last year and I was amazed to see how much tougher his playing style became. He didn’t experience as much pain as before, and felt more secure. It allowed him to step up his game and become a better player.

Apart from being generous with sport injury preventative gear and other sport equipment he might need, we discuss the importance of being strong. My daughter is in a music gymnasium where she plays the violin, and even there they have a strong focus on injury prevention as they want to be able to devote their entire careers to music and over-use injuries could happen to them just as well as to an athlete.

Can a child workout in the same way as an adult?

At the gym where my son is working out, all youth members have to start their membership with a training session led by a personal trainer. They are only allowed to work out using their own body weight. He can be totally exhausted when he gets home from practice, but I trust his coach and feel confident he would not push them beyond their capacity. The trainer also implements injury preventive thinking. He is always challenging them to become better players and I know my son is motivated by the fact that he and his teammates are treated as growing athletes, not kids.

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