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Thomas Jefferson Soccer Club

Thomas Jefferson Soccer Club

Tournament Travel Tips

Traveling to a tournament can be a lot of fun for a youth sports team, especially if it involves an overnight stay.  Kids get to spend a whole weekend playing the sport they love, bonding with their teammates, sleeping in a hotel (almost like it’s a vacation!) and more.  But for parents and coaches, traveling with a youth sports team can become a logistical nightmare if you don’t plan ahead.  Simply keeping tabs on a dozen or so youth athletes is no easy feat, so here are three tips for traveling with a youth sports team to make everything else a little easier.

Stock up on snacks from the grocery store

It’s important that you keep your team full and fueled during a weekend tournament, but a tight schedule might not give your players enough time to grab lunch every day.  You don’t want to weigh your youth athletes down with greasy fast food or have to worry about them crashing later after snacking on candy all day, so stock up on snacks from the local grocery store.  Grab things like bags of baby carrots, apples, nuts, cheese snacks, crackers and other healthy snacks they can munch on in between games.  Having these snacks on hand is also useful if your team has an early morning game and doesn’t have time to eat a full breakfast.  They are also great to keep in the hotel rooms during an overnight stay in place of potato chips and other unhealthy snacks.

Pack a “must have” kit

Traveling overnight means sports parents can’t run home if their youth athlete forgot something.  Create a “must have” travel kit full of things that team might need (and might forget to bring) like extra socks (important if you’re playing in the wet weather!), hair ties, water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray and so forth.  Those little items may not seem like much, but they can make a world of difference for one of the players!

Establish a hotel code-of-conduct

It’s exciting to travel to a tournament and stay at a hotel (or dorms if you are going to the Open Tournament), but the team must understand what is expected of them while at the hotel.  The team needs some ground rules for what time is lights out, if they are allowed to sue the pool or not, if they are allowed to sway rooms and so forth.  By establishing a code of conduct up front, you can make sure your youth athletes are accountable for their actions.  That goes for the adults too.  There must be expectations of the adults traveling with the team as well.  It’s a good idea to have adults take turns keeping an eye on public area behavior; left unattended, kids with or without a code-of-conduct, will do what kids do.

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