How to keep youth active outdoors – and safe – this summer


Posted: July 27, 2020 | Word Count: 650

While this has been a challenging year with many youth sports leagues and activities in play at limited capacity or canceled entirely, the good news is there are still plenty of ways kids can stay active and healthy.

Healthcare professionals agree that physical activity is critical for children’s physical, mental and social development. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends children and teens ages five to 17 engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to rigorous movement every day.

Participation in sports helps young people learn how to set and meet goals, while also promoting a positive self-image, encouraging a healthy lifestyle and building character. Sports also teach valuable social and emotional skills, like communication, teamwork, perseverance and self-efficacy, and provide the joy of belonging to a community.

When access to team sports are limited and young people can't fully participate in the camaraderie of physical activities due to COVID-19, what can they do to stay healthy, active — and safe?

Through its Team Up for Kids mission, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Buffalo Wild Wings Foundation have created sports programming that enables young people to comply with safe social distancing and health guidelines. To ensure more kids have the chance to play sports, the Buffalo Wild Wings Foundation is donating 44,000 sports balls to Boys & Girls Club kids across the country to support this mission and inspire movement.

Here are three exercises to move and have a ball amid today’s new normal:

Toss Challenge: Enhance hand-eye coordination by scoring as many points as you can using sports balls or other round objects at home.

  1. Find five balls and five containers (like boxes or buckets).
  2. Line up containers. Assign each container a specific number of points. Farther away or smaller containers can be more points, because they're harder to throw the ball into.
  3. Stand away from containers.
  4. Toss the ball underhand into one container. See if you can reach the farthest container. If too easy, move further away.
  5. Repeat until you’ve thrown 10 times. Keep track of your points!
  6. How many points did you score? Try again to see if you can score more points with only five throws.
  7. If you're right-handed, try throwing with your left. If left-handed, try throwing with your right.

Throwing Drill: Improve strength and agility by throwing consistently and with purpose.

  1. Set up a target in an open space, like a backyard or park. Your target will determine how accurate your throw is. You can use colored tape to make an X on the ground or wall.
  2. Throw your sports ball 15-30 feet away from your target. If the ball reaches your target, your throw is accurate, and you should continue practicing the same way. If it did not reach the target, make small changes to your throwing technique until you improve.
  3. Increase distance by 15 feet once you can accurately hit the target five times in a row.
  4. Make it harder by trying to throw the ball while running forward, backward or shuffling sideways.

Catching Drill: Perfect speed, agility and coordination all in one fun drill.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold your sports ball in your hands in front of your chest.
  2. Throw the ball several feet up into the air, watching it carefully as it moves through the air.
  3. Catch the ball as it falls back toward the ground. As you catch it, tuck it into your body as though preparing to run with it.
  4. Increase the height of your throw gradually. As you improve, make it harder by throwing the ball up and away from you. This makes you run for the ball, just like in a real game.

Set activity goals and be your own champion, so when it's time, you'll be ready to highlight your new and improved skills among your sports community. Visit BGCA.org for more information.

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