Competitive sports are a lot fun. They help you stay healthy, meet new people, and teach you about teamwork. If you've never played a sport before, it's a chance to try something new. But sports also take a lot of hard work and practice. So starting a new season might make you feel a little nervous.

Here are some ways to help you get ready for the first day:

  1. Get in shape. Being in shape will help you have an easier start to your sport season. Start by writing down an exercise plan. If you're having trouble coming up with a plan or workouts, ask your coach, gym teacher, or trainer for advice. If you can't make it to a gym or don't have a lot of time, there are lots of exercise apps and online workouts you can try at home.

    Write down your goals for the week and the workouts you plan to do. Schedule specific workout times. This will help you stay motivated and stick to your exercise plan. It will also help you keep track of what activities you did. If you liked a certain workout, make a note next to it so you can repeat it another week.
  2. Set realistic goals. While you get ready for the start of your sports season, think of what you want to achieve. Your goals may be general, like making the team or getting in shape. But smaller, specific goals are easier to achieve and can build toward your bigger goal. Be sure to write down your goals and discuss them with your parent or coach — they can support you. If you reach your goal, set new goals to work toward. Having goals can be a great motivator!
  3. Check your gear. If you're returning to your sport, try on your equipment to make sure it still fits and works for you. If you're new to a sport, ask your coach what you'll need. You can buy your gear secondhand or borrow it from siblings or friends to save money. Make sure all your gear is clean and safe to use. If you're unsure, ask your coach to look at it before the first day of practice.
  4. Consider a sports camp. Sports camps help new and experienced players practice skills before the season starts. College players, coaches, or other professionals usually teach the camps. Most include drill sessions, then scrimmages toward the end of the day. Drill work helps improve skills. Scrimmaging with other campers lets you practice those skills in real-game situations. Scrimmages also can help you get the feel of playing on a team if it's something you're not used to. Many schools and colleges offer sports camps and clinics during the summer and on the weekends during the school year.
  5. See your doctor. Your school or team will need you to get a sports physical before allowing you to try out or play. Because everyone needs to get checked to play, doctors are busiest at the beginning of sports seasons.

    Ask your mom or dad to set up an appointment before your season starts. That gives the doctor plenty of time to fill out your paperwork so you can start your sport on time. If you wear glasses, consider visiting your eye doctor to check your prescription and get the right protective eyewear.

Whether you're training with a team or on your own, remember to include rest time into your schedule. Make sure you take at least 1–2 days off per week from competitive sports and training. Take at least 2 months off each year from any particular sport to prevent repetitive stress injuries.

Back to Articles

Related Articles

Choosing the Right Sport for You

If you're having trouble choosing a sport, this article can help!

Read More

Sports and Exercise Safety

Playing hard doesn't have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.

Read More

A Guide to Eating for Sports

You've prepared for the game in almost every way possible: but now what should you eat? Read about performance foods, nutritional supplements, and more.

Read More

Strength Training

Is working out with weights safe for teens? The best way to build muscle tone and definition is to combine aerobic and flexibility exercises with the right kind of strength training.

Read More

Dealing With Stress In Sports

Winning is all that matters when you play sports, right? Not when that means you can't even enjoy the game. Read about how to handle sports pressure and competition.

Read More

Repetitive Stress Injuries in Sports

Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) happen when movements are repeated over and over, damaging a bone, tendon, or joint.

Read More

5 Reasons for Girls to Play Sports

Playing organized sports can help girls do better off the field as well as on. Find out how.

Read More

Exercise Log

Keeping an exercise log is a great way to stay motivated and reach exercise goals.

Read More

5 Facts About Goal Setting

Here are 5 practical tips on goal setting that can help make it easier to set and reach goals.

Read More

Sports Center

This site has tips on things like preparing for a new season, handling sports pressure, staying motivated, and dealing with injuries.

Read More

Nutrition & Fitness Center

Visit our nutrition and fitness center for teens to get information and advice on food, exercise, and sports.

Read More

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and