Are your kids part of a traveling sports team? Whether you’re the coach or the parent of a single team member, you want to do your part to contribute to your team’s success and ensure that your kids are having fun. There are several essentials that every kids traveling sports team needs — and in this guide, you can make you have all of them before going into next season. Read on for your checklist of must-haves for your kids traveling sports team, and shop portable tents, banners, flags, and more from our industry-leaders here at Extreme Canopy.
#1: A SCHEDULE
A successful kids sporting team starts with a good schedule. Without one, chaos can quickly ensue. Scheduling helps keep parents aware of where kids need to be (and when), which parents are responsible for which team essentials, and everything else a sports team might be doing throughout the season. If you are tasked with building your kids traveling sports team’s schedule, here are a few items you’ll want to include.
- Build a tentative schedule of all team practices throughout the season. Give dates, times, and locations for each practice. If one or two are different from the rest, put them in bold on your schedule.
- Games and Tournaments. Add games and tournaments to your schedule with necessary dates, times, and locations. If certain parents are driving, or if you’ve chartered a bus, be sure to add pickup points to the schedule.
- Parent Responsibilities. Delegating rotating parent responsibilities is common practice with kids sports teams. For each game or practice, make sure you’ve included which parent is responsible for bringing snacks, packing sporting essentials, or driving the kids.
- Special Dates. Hosting an end-of-season party, team meeting, or another get-together? Put it on the schedule so everyone knows where to be ahead of time.
- Contact Information. At the bottom of your schedule, include contact information for all parents and coaches on the team. This will help everyone stay in touch and get ahold of one another if something comes up.
#2: SPORTING GOODS
Number two on our list nearly goes without saying. Every traveling spots team needs proper equipment to play their sports. However, as a parent or coach of a traveling kids sports team, it’s important to figure out exactly which sporting goods you’re supposed to bring ahead of games or competitions. Certain tournaments or sporting locations will often provide the essentials. Soccer complexes usually come outfitted with goals and flags, while basketball courts have hoops, bleachers, and typically several balls for athletes to use. That being said, you want to make sure that your sports team has everything it needs to play a game. Double-check with the sporting complex, league, and other parents (including those on other teams), to make sure that all the necessities are accounted for. On your team, make sure that every athlete has on proper apparel, including shoes, shorts (or pants), and team jerseys. If your team is playing a sport with a ball, bring a few extra balls so kids can warm-up and stay engaged before games.
#3: COMFORTABLE SEATING
Sure, sports are supposed to be active — but kids and parents on traveling sports teams also do a lot of sitting. When you travel, make sure that your sidelines are outfitted with portable, comfortable seating for both parents and athletes. Foldable camping chairs are a great choice for parents, while expandable benches are a good investment for teams with a sizeable number of players sitting out at any given time.
Want to maximize comfort during back-to-back games and long tournaments? Consider investing in seat cushions to upgrade your seating. Available in foam, air-inflated, and fabric models, seat cushions can be attached directly to portable chairs or bleachers to add comfort and cushion without breaking the bank or taking up too much space.
#4: SMART SHELTER
For outdoor sports, shelter is essential. In cold or rainy weather, shelter helps keep athletes and parents warm and dry. In hot and sunny weather, shelter keeps everyone cool and protected from the sun’s harmful rays. When choosing smart shelter for your traveling sports team, you’ll want to pick a product that’s portable, durable, easy to set-up, and sized to meet your needs.
Instant canopies, or “pop-up tents” are perhaps the most popular type of smart shelter for traveling sports teams. Designed with expandable frames featuring height-adjustable legs, these tents require little to no assembly and can be set up in a matter of minutes. The simplest pop-up tents feature a frame with four legs and a fabric roof. Larger, more complex models may include additional legs and fabric sides for additional space and weather protection. Instant canopies are also incredibly portable: when collapsed, they fit neatly into carrying cases that can be easily transported in most cars or trucks.
Inflatable tents are another attractive option for traveling kids sports teams. As their name suggests, inflatable tents use pressure air instead of metal or plastic support beams to stand upright. This gives them the advantage of extra flexibility, creative shaping, and unparalleled packability. With no rigid frames, these tents can be rolled up and packed into virtually any space. Plus, set up is a breeze. Simply turn on the tent’s included electric pump and let it do the work. Though priced slightly higher than similar-sized instant canopies, inflatable tents provide a creative and easy-to-use shelter solution for teams on the go.
#5: SNACKS, SNACKS, AND MORE SNACKS
Kids need nutrition — especially when they’re exerting energy playing sports. To keep your young athletes healthy and happy, it’s a good idea to pack snacks and drinks for each game and practice. Many teams choose to have a rotational schedule where a different parent brings snacks for the entire team to each practice or game. When feeding kids sports teams, nutrition is a must, but taste shouldn’t be sacrificed. Choose snacks that are both healthy and easy to eat, as kids will often be chomping them down during halftime, before or after games, or in transit. Get creative with your snack choice, and spend some time making them fun and flavorful. Who knows, you might even want to save some for yourself.
#6: SPORTS TEAM APPAREL
Nothing unites a kids a sports team like great-looking apparel. Jerseys, singlets, and anything else worn during competition are essential. But sports team apparel doesn’t have to stop there. While club fees or schools may foot the bill for the essentials, parents can go the extra mile and invest in spirit packs or other swag for their kids and themselves. To keep your kids comfortable and looking official — and get in on the action yourself — consider pooling your resources with other parents to buy your sports team a set of t-shirts, hoodies, or warm-ups. Unique, team-colored apparel will also make it easier to keep track of kids during travel, saving you time and precious peace of mind.
#7: TEAM SIGNAGE
Last on our list of kids traveling sports team essentials is team signage. Somewhere between apparel and shelter, signs are an excellent way to boost morale, increase visibility, and make your team stand out from the competition. While many teams choose to go the DIY route and make signs with paint and paper, opting for professional signage will make your team look more official and ensure that your signs can be used season after season.
Banners are by far the most popular type of team signage, used by teams and fans across all sports. If you are looking to outfit your traveling sports team with a professionally-made banner, you’ll find that there are many options to choose from. Free-standing pod-pop banners, shuttle pop banners, and oval-pop banners are great for environments while hanging a banner isn’t practical. Classic custom banners and table covers are perfect for adorning tents, building, tables, and other surfaces with your team’s colors, mascot, and other symbols.
Flags are another popular type of professional signage used by sports teams. These free-standing signs are great to set up indoors and outdoors to attract attention and represent your team in style. Intended primarily for outdoor use, feather flags are feather-shaped flags designed to billow in the wind. They’re a great choice for soccer, football, track and field, cross country, baseball, and other outdoor sports. Tear drop-shaped tear drop flags are sturdy, non-billowing flags available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. They’re simple eye-catching solutions perfect for travel and all-weather use.
Learn More and Shop Traveling Sports Team Essentials at Extreme Canopy
Now that you have your checklist of kids traveling sports team essentials, it’s time to shop for next season. Here at Extreme Canopy, we are proud to design and manufacture an extensive selection of portable tents, banners, flags, specially-designed for sporting events and travel. Explore our inventory to view our selection of industry-leading products, and contact our team with questions and custom requests.