Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Published Wednesday, March 27, 2019 with 4 comments

Sports Parents’ Personal Aide: InstaTeam

From instant communication, to anytime, anywhere access to rosters and game schedules, to carpooling and so much more at the touch of a button – here’s the best digital tool for helping parents engage effectually in their child’s youth sports program.

Imagine. You didn’t know the game venue changed last night. You reach the venue and realize you were responsible for coolants, go back to get them. You volunteer for carpooling but coordinating takes forever. Or worse, you forget a practice game!

These scenarios are not make-believe, every sports parent has been there, done that. These things happen all the time. And yes, they can be so daunting. But no more. InstaTeam’s mobile app takes care of all coordination and communication amongst managers, coaches, team and parents. It helps coaches with scheduling and rostering, helps parents with instant access to all important team information like game schedules and rosters, sends reminders, helps parents organizing carpool, volunteering, score keeping, instant messaging, sharing pictures etc. without any hassles.

InstaTeam is more than just a communication app or a digital notice board. Say for instance, for the coach creates an event for a practice match. All specifics of the event will show up in event detail like the day, date, venue etc. Suppose you want to volunteer refreshments, you can update that information in ‘I’m bringing’ section. You can also see how many people are attending the event, who all are not attending and you can mark your attendance status there. Sign-up items will show any requirement from the coach’s or administrator’s side. If you wish to contribute, go to ‘signup items’ and tap on the items you wish to bring. All this can be managed easily without bothering people with countless messages, discussions and confusions. To organize a carpool, you will just need to set your home location on the map and the app would automatically connect you with team members who live in your vicinity and are open to carpool. Again, no long trail of messages, discussions and confusions. There’s more, you can synchronize your team schedule with the google calendar making overall day-management a breeze. And then there are reminders that really are like the cherry on top.

 Many parents have kids playing in more than one team. Imagine being able to see all your engagements and commitments together, on a single interface. Dorothy Harper, a single mother and youth sports parent, says, “InstaTeam combines my calendar, instant messaging, school app, payment app and social media into one easy interface”. “My life has become so much easier. I finally have a non-chaotic, well-managed schedule. My day is planned and there’s no room for surprises or slip-ups”, says Lumen Green, a mother of three sports kids.

For a busy parent, InstaTeam streamlines and simplifies things like a personal aide working 24x7. “I used to be guilty of being engrossed in office work so much that I hardly got time to go through each and every text message or read the entire chain of emails to get the relevant message. With InstaTeam I check up on the information whenever I can. I am always up-to-date”, says Adam Bowman, a soccer player’s father. Another busy corporate executive, Samantha Hills, says, “whether I’m in a meeting or busy with clients, I can always catch up on relevant information. InstaTeam’s got my back”.

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Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Published Wednesday, March 06, 2019 with 6 comments

Workout While You Wait-up

The kind of time commitment that your child’s sport or hobby participation demands can be very pressing. With managing work life, domestic responsibilities and running around to practices and games, you hardly get any to catch a breath, let alone exercising. While you cannot add more hours to your day, you definitely can make the most of the hours you have. Your body needs exercise, and you will have to fit it in your schedule whenever you can.

Here are some workout suggestions that you can do while you wait-up for your child’s soccer practice or piano classes.

1.     Walk – If you are a sports parent and you are waiting at the stadium or ground that has access to open space good for a walk, grab the opportunity. Do brisk walking. If you are walking at a regular pace, you can burn over 400 calories, which is actually a very good use of your free time. You can also do this with someone who is waiting up too, but if the conversation slows you down, try doing it on your own.

2.     If your child is in hobby classes and you do not have access to open field or track, look around for what you can use. If there is space enough for jump rope and stretches, carry along your jump rope and terra band. Look up for exercises that can be done using the jump rope and terra band. Make a schedule, dedicate a day for upper body, a day for lower body, one for core, one for abs and so on. Making a schedule will ensure your full body gets exercise and also your workout does not get monotonous.

3.     Some days you can choose to take it easy, but even on such days you should stand and move back and forth or maybe take walk slowly around. Sitting al lot makes your body use less energy than while standing or moving. Research has shown that long periods of sitting are related to a number of health problems including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and other conditions that may occur from low metabolism. Slow walk or even a little movement helps keep the body using up energy thus accelerating your metabolism resulting in improved health. Some movement is always better than none.

4.     Always try and wear sports shoes to the practice or classes. It will be relaxing on your feet and will help in exercising. If you are coming from work, carry a pair of shoes in the trunk of your car.

Here are some exercises you can do while sitting:

·        SEATED LEG LIFTS – Sit upright in your chair. Stretch one leg, straighten it and raise it to bring it parallel to the ground. Now bring it down and raise it again. Repeat to the count of 10, then change the leg and do the same.

·        SEATED HIP BRIDGE – Sit upright. Squeeze your glutes together as tight as possible, hold till the count of ten, then release them. Repeat 10-15 times.

·        SHRUG – Move your shoulders as close as you can to your ears, hold for a moment then drop. Repeat 10-15 times. 

·        ANKLE ROTATION – Rotate your ankle clockwise and anti-clockwise.

·        ARM STRECHES – Stretch your right arm towards the left. Hold your right elbow in the crook of your left elbow, stretch and hold it there for 15-20 seconds. Repeat with your next arm.    

Some exercises you can do standing:

·        CALF RAISES – Stand straight. Get on your toes, hold for a moment, come down. Start by doing 20-30 of these and gradually increase the count.

·        WALL SQUATS – Stand with your back kneeling on a wall. Now slowly move forward as you bend your legs from the knee. Bring your thighs parallel to the ground with your knees in 90-degree angle, like in a sitting position without the chair.

·        MARCH IN PLACE – This quick cardio will pump up your heart and get your metabolism also running.

There’s so much more that can be done. Be sure you do consult your physician if you have a medical condition or if you have pains or any other symptoms.
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Friday, 1 March 2019

Published Friday, March 01, 2019 with 1 comment

Strike into Spring Sports

In America, sports have been the integral part of almost (well, mostly) every child’s growing up. The benefits of joining team sports are far reached, and informed parents get enthusiastic about their child leaning, playing and growing with sports. According to statistics, every year close twenty million kids in America, in the age group of 6-16 sign up for spring sports.

For those of you who are doing this for the very first time, here are some tips to help you prepare your child for spring sports and get her started.

1.     Start with soccer – If your child is enrolling for the first time, it would be good idea to start with soccer. It’s perfect for toddlers as the game is simple and involves movement of the lower body; functionally speaking kicking is easier than lifting the ball and throwing it up.

2.     It’s a game – Remember that always. Don’t get into competition mode instantly. Let the child have fun first. When your child comes back from the practice, the first question you should ask is, “did you have fun?”, instead of, “did you win?”.

3.     Let the child decide – Give your child the right exposure. Let her try different sports if she wants to, and let her choose your own path. How much ever tempted you might feel, don’t impose what you think would be right. Neither do expect the child to fulfill your dreams. If you had to leave baseball after high school, do not expect the child to continue for you. Let her live her own dreams.

4.     Do not overwhelm the child with too much of sports – Do not enroll your child in any more than two sports at a given time. Although one sport is the ideal, but if you feel the need, not more than two in one go. Also, match the time requirements with your schedule. If the child has to withdraw because of scheduling conflicts, it will be huge setback for her.

5.     Encourage the child to talk about the game – Rather than battering the child with suggestions and ‘you should have done this’ kind of coaching-from-the-stands, let your child say how she felt about the game, or about her friends or anything she wants to talk about. Let her do the talking, and then gently join in the conversation telling her parts that you thought were fun. Show that you are interested and you care. If your child is grown up, in her tweens or teens, there might be times she would not like to talk about the game, respect it, and give her the space.

6.     Teach your child to lose gracefully – We are usually so obsessed with winning that we forget losing is good too. It helps us understand our weakness, and build upon it. Do not make a big deal out of a game lost. Rather say, “proud you tried real-hard”, or “that was some really good game there”. Kids can sometimes take the whole blame of the team losing on their heads and that burden can really weigh them down. Do not put added pressure by showing your disappointment.

7.     Remember you are a role model – Stay calm during the game. Do not rub your work disappointments, your relationship struggles onto your kid. The behavior you exhibit, is the behavior you can expect.   

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