It's a wide world of sports for kids. With so many options, it's hard to pick just one. Plus, a lot of kids aren't limiting themselves to one sport, and that's a good thing! Trying different sports will build a well-rounded athlete with a reduced chance of repetitive injury.
To help keep your kid in shape for any season, full body conditioning drills and exercises are the way to go. Conditioning exercises help build endurance, balance, agility and coordination while strengthening the whole body—skills that all sports need.
Whether your kid is into basketball, football, soccer or just being a kid, these full-body conditioning exercises will have them ready for the game or the playground. All of these drills and exercises can be done anywhere, anytime, which is perfect when you're carting your kid to ALL the extracurriculars all around town.
Remember: When performing conditioning drills, the key concept is form before speed. As form improves, speed will follow.
Hopscotch – Ladder DrillStart with both feet in the box of a rope ladder and jump forward so the right foot lands outside the next box. Jump back into the next box with both feet then back out to the other side with the left foot. This can also be done by drawing a hopscotch grid with chalk on a sidewalk.
WindsprintsStart at the baseline of a basketball court. Run to the first free throw line, tap the line with your hand and run back to baseline. Then run to the half court line. Tap and return to the baseline. Next run to the far free throw line. Tap and return to the baseline. Lastly, run to the far baseline. Tap and return to the starting baseline.
5-10-5 ShufflesGoing sideways, run as fast as possible five yards to the left, 10 yards to the right, then five back to the left. You can also incorporate backpedaling. Using different planes of movement are key for any sport.
Jumping rope helps build foot coordination and speed. Two-foot jumps, single-leg jumps and crossover jumps are the easiest for all levels. If you don't have access to a jump rope, you can do the same action without a rope.
In addition to conditioning drills, these basic conditioning exercises will help any player gain strength for any number of sports.
Plank to Low Squat: Begin in a plank position on the hands rather than the elbows. Jump your feet to the outside of your hands, coming into a deep squat while keeping your hands on the floor. Quickly jump back to plank. Repeat in a quick succession.
Split Jack: Step one foot back and lower into a lunge with your arms down by your sides. Then jump up off the ground and switch to land in a lunge on the other side. As you jump and switch to a lunge on the other side, swing your arms out to the side and overhead. When you land in the lunge on the other side, your arms should be up overhead. Repeat.
Push-Up: Get into high plank position. Place your hands firmly on the floor while bracing your core and with your back flat. Lower your body down toward the ground, keeping your back flat and body in a straight line with your arms close to the body at a 20- to 40-degree angle from your body. Ideally, you want your chest to touch the floor while maintaining proper form. Exhale as you push back up to starting position.
Mountain Climber: Starting on your hands and knees, bring the left foot forward directly under the chest while straightening the right leg. Keeping the hands on the ground and your core tight, jump and switch legs. The left leg should now be extended behind the body with the right knee forward.
Inchworm: Stand up tall with your legs straight and fingertips touching the floor. Keeping the legs straight (but not locked!), slowly lower the torso toward the floor. Then walk the hands forward. Once in a push-up position, start taking tiny steps so the feet meet the hands.
Burpees: Start out in a low squat position with hands on the floor. Next, jump the feet back to a push-up position, complete one push-up, then immediately return the feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible before squatting and moving back into the push-up portion of the exercise.
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