Three Ways Youth Sports Coaches are Inspiring Healthy Choices

Posted by: Ben Reed

As summer quickly approaches, youth sports staff are in the process of transitioning from spring sports to summer sports leagues and camps.  During these final weeks of preparation, we often overlook the opportunity to introduce new concepts into our current sports programs. 

Two boys and a girl on a bench on a soccer field drinking water with two male adult coaches sitting behind them.

Infographic on modeling healthy habits and changing lifestyles through the Y's Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards.
Click on the image to view larger and download

Yet, we know that kids thrive when their physical, cognitive and social-emotional development is nurtured. By creating more healthy choices, the Y’s Healthy Eating Physical Activity (HEPA) standards lay the foundation for a positive youth development journey.

That’s why we’re sharing three easy ways to introduce HEPA into your sports programs.

1. Drink Right. Make water accessible and available to children at all times, including at the table during snacks and meals. This allows youth to choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.

2. Move More. Our HEPA Standards call for providing moderate to vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes a day (or 30 minutes in a half day program). Providing these opportunities allows youth to boost movement and get the physical activity they need to stay healthy.

3. Snack Smart. Providing fruit and vegetables as snacks is a HEPA staple. And snacking smart helps youth stay fueled during and after physical activity.

Looking for more tips and support?

For more ideas on infusing HEPA into your youth sports program, email our team or visit Healthy Kids Hub. You can also print free tools and read success stories here.

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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.