Tips for Travelling with Sports Teams
Sports teams can be energetic and rowdy both on and off the field. Teams made up of young children or teenagers are even more likely to become a little antsy, especially while traveling for an overnight away game. Luckily, there are some things coaches and chaperones can do to make these overnight or multi-day trips as organized and enjoyable as possible. Below are some tips to help any coach or manager keep a high-energy team occupied during their next team trip.
Plan Healthy Meals and Pack Wholesome Snacks
To perform at an optimal level, athletes need healthy nutrition. So, while snacks and meals can keep players from getting “hangry” on the road, be sure to plan out food options in advance to include wholesome choices. Pack a variety of healthy snack items, including:
- Snackable fruits (dried and fresh) and vegetables
- Protein bars and other nutritious snack bars
- Plenty of water and low-sugar sports drinks
- Nuts or other whole-food savory snacks
To avoid the dreaded sugar high, steer clear of any foods high in added sugars. If possible, plan to have meals at restaurants that offer healthy menu options and fresh ingredients. Aim for meals that are low in fat, sugar, and sodium. This will ensure the athletes have the energy to perform at their best level. The team can always indulge a little after a great performance.
Plan the Trip as a Team
Since the entire team, coaches, and managers will be involved in the trip, they should also have a say in the planning process. If possible, include everyone in a vote on where the group stays, what everyone eats (generally), how chores are divided, and which activities will be done as a group. The coach or manager can hold parent and/or team meetings to present travel and accommodation options and collect votes. This helps to ensure every decision represents the team fairly.
Schedule Fun, Relaxing Activities
Travelling with a sports team doesn’t have to be all about business. It can also include some low- to moderate-intensity fun and games. Just make sure planned activities won’t leave your players feeling drained or exhausted. High-energy activities such as theme parks, scenic hikes, and other options involving a fair amount of physical activity can still be enjoyed—just save them for after the game to avoid diminishing players’ performance levels. Moderate activity, on the other hand, is a great way to combat pre-game jitters and improve player performance. So, consider planning activities like swimming, miniature golf, or bowling. You could also strategically book your accommodations near entertainment, such as RCC Ottawa West, an Ottawa hotel near the airportand many attractions.
Assign a Point Person
As the trip approaches, assign a point person or general trip manager. This individual will:
- Ensure the planning goes smoothly
- Keep the trip organized
- Make sure every aspect of the trip is planned, e.g. hotel accommodations, rental cars, etc.
- Ensure all accommodations are in place
- Create a travel to-do list and/or itinerary
- Make it easier to communicate with important business contacts, e.g. hotel managers
- Keep the group (especially team members) on task and on schedule
- Ensure healthy meals are served
- Ensure appropriate jobs are assigned to other members of the travel group
Assigning a point person will facilitate proper job delegation, streamline the planning process, and help prevent arguments, confusion, and frustration. This will create a healthier travel environment for young athletes, potentially reducing game-day related stress and improving performance.