The winds of winter are here. Long gone are short sleeves and tank tops, and everywhere we go we see layers and sweaters keeping our peers warm during the day. With the season, we can look towards a cozier time indoors but also the opportunity to enjoy outdoor sports games like football and soccer with a more dramatic effect.
All across the country, coaches and parents gear up for a variety of outdoor sports games and league events. So long as the weather remains safe, the game (or practice) must go on. There are, however, efficient ways to keep your team warm during cool outdoor sports games, and many of these ideas require little effort. The good news is you can always add a creative twist to make them uniquely your own and enjoy so the spirit of the game isn't lost bellow those layers of clothes.
Here's how to keep your team warm when temperatures drop:
During winter season, it becomes even more important to keep the hands and feet of your little ones safe and protected. Try these ideas to keep them warm both before and during a practice or game.
Warm Food and Drinks
A quick and easy way to beat the chill during downtime can be to provide your team with a warm drink, like hot chocolate.
Not only will they appreciate a comforting warm drink or a variety of soups when the temperature dips, but you can also purchase
customized thermoses for each member to keep their drinks safe.
Order imprinted with the team mascot or motto and distribute days before a game to help pump team spirit among your players.
Proper Warm-up Before a Game
If your are a professional coach you can skip to the next section, otherwise please read carefully. It's extremely important that each team member is adequately prepared for the game. Simple stretching exercises will warm up their muscles and prepare their bodies for increased activity and movement.
Although your little ones are freakishly flexible they can still be injured during a game. You must take a few moments of practice to teach them proper warming exercises like easy toe touches, arm and leg stretches, and by twisting of the torso.
During warm-up, their heart rate will increase slowly and help the body adjust to the intensity of the game to come.
The uniform reigns on the field but layered clothing on the sidelines can be helpful in between plays.
Zippered hooded sweatshirts are soft and warm, as well as easy to take on and off. They’re perfect for a cool evening practice where players can either unzip them as they start to warm up or quickly toss them to the side.
Fleece jackets are another great option for outdoor sports as they not only provide safe covering, but your team will love the way they feel to the touch.
Great for a chilly morning practice or evening game, both styles of clothing can be customized with a team logo for a practical way to show team spirit on and off the field.
Disposable Hand Warmers
Disposable hand warmers can be purchased at a variety of retail outlets and online. These warmers are designed to be used one time and can last for hours, making them a convenient tool for evenings games - particularly on the occasions when a matches go into overtime.
Always read instructions and follow suggestions for use with the younger crowd.
Travel blankets which include a carrying case make transport and storage easy - just grab and go! These are also a practical gift for parents as they cheer support from the bleachers.
Gloves or Mittens
Depending on the state in which your team resides, winter sports may often occur when there’s a biting chill in the air. It’s especially important to keep hands warm to avoid frostbite, either with gloves or other hand coverings.
Fingerless gloves may prove more practical during the game, but even the provision of a few pair of gloves to wear while on the sidelines can be an effective way to ward off the cold.
Encourage team members to keep moving, even when it isn’t their turn to play during an outdoor sports event. Continual movement encourages muscles to keep warm and the body to maintain its heat.
Hats or Ear Warmers
Simple knit caps for winter sports will keep ears covered and safe from the cold temperatures and wind. These can be purchased in bulk amounts and matching team colors.
Select styles of ear warmers wrap around the back of the head and fit snugly around, providing protection in a similar fashion as earmuffs.
Heaters for The sidelines
Portable propane heaters can be placed on the sidelines to keep feet warm during downtime. Always keep an adult nearby to supervise, and never allow kids to get too close.
Always do a check of the weather before a game. If there is any chance of dangerous wind chill or excessively low temperatures, it is best to reschedule your winter match. The safety of your players is most important - no matter the expectations your had for the season.
Encourage Participation and Team Spirit
You may find that there are parents, grandparents and friends who are excited to be involved with the details and planning the team’s season. These individuals may be willing to secure the resources needed to keep players warm and safe, or provide other creative ideas for game times as the temperatures begin to drop.
Personalized sweatshirts and jackets are a great way to encourage team spirit, and can serve a practical use off the field as well. No matter a player’s position or skill level, he or she will want to feel included and valued for the contributions made to the game. An opportunity to display the team's insignia can serve as a way to unify individual members and as source of encouragement.
Winter sports also offer exciting opportunities to teach our young about teamwork, responsibility, dedication, and perseverance. Coaches and other leaders have an important role to play as they model patience and offer encouragement to players of all ages and skill levels. No matter your role, there are a variety of ways to keep team members safe not only with the proper equipment, but with cold-weather protective measures, too.
Follow our blog for more ideas on how to keep your team engaged, prepared and protected during games.