A Parent's Guide to Surviving Cold Weather Sports

A Parent's Guide to Surviving Cold Weather Sports

It’s 6 p.m. on a Thursday, and you are sitting on a metal bleacher outside in the freezing rain or snow, cheering on your son or daughter. As a parent, you are most likely familiar with this scenario. 
Mambe Hooded Blanket Fans

In the culture of America’s youth sports, many sports run all year long. This means that at some point, you will be bumping into the inclement weather of the winter months. It might look like sticking it out the pouring rain, shoveling off fields to be able to play, managing drizzles when you’re used to constant sun, or facing the infamous Nor’easters and lake effects. Whether it’s soccer, lacrosse, football, baseball, track, cross country, or any outdoor sport, chances are you will spend some time cold on a sideline cheering on your young athlete.

Not only can these times be miserable for you as a spectator, but they can also be dangerous for the cold athlete. Mambe Blanket Co. is here to give you your one-stop guide for surviving cold-weather sports.

How to use this guide:

Either use the table to select the sport your child plays most, or have some fun and scan through them all! Each category has unique elements for the individual sport, but much may sound familiar. 

Each section will contain some ways to prepare you as the parent of a young athlete, as well as some tips and tricks to help prepare your child for sports in cold weather. 

Table Of Contents

1. Soccer

2. Football

3. Baseball

4. Softball

5. Hockey

6. Lacrosse

7. Track and Field and Cross Country

Soccer

Depending on what part of the country you are in, soccer may be an outdoor sport all year long. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, there are very few indoor soccer facilities, and the few around are often reserved for professional athletes. Most youth soccer games are played outside in the elements all year long. In the midwest, they have many indoor facilities, but some of them are in facilities aptly termed “domes.” These are creative spaces of large tarps held up by air and beams. Unsurprisingly these “bubbles,” although technically indoors, can get very cold. No matter where you are located, come October for fall sports and January-May for spring, sports can be freezing. And these months tend to be prime time for youth soccer players.

The athletes benefit from running around to help them stay warm, but where does that leave you as the supportive parent? Freezing on the sideline, doing your best to act excited to be there. But no longer!  

Prepping for the Sideline

  • Layer Up: This may seem like common sense, but layering well is a true art form. First, don’t use cotton! If cotton gets wet – IT STAYS WET! And if the layer closest to your skin gets wet, you will be cold. Consider getting merino wool base layers. Merino wool is lightweight and breathable, incredibly warm, and has the added benefit of drying efficiently while on the move. Then you’ll want to put on warm clothes. Sweatshirts, long sleeves, sweatpants, windpants, and jackets are great bets.
  • Bring Extra… Everything: You never know when the weather will turn for the worse, and you’ll need more blankets, coats, and mittens. You can never count on your son or daughter to remember to bring their coat to anything. It is always a great idea to stuff extra of everything into the trunk. Not only will you be ready if it is colder than you anticipated, but you will be the favorite parent on the sidelines! This advice also goes for soccer socks, water bottles, and other soccer gear your son and daughter needs to play the beautiful game. 
  • Water resistant is NOT the same as waterproof: When it comes to cold weather, waterproof is 100% the way to go! Even if you live in a dry state where cold winds and snow are your sideline nemesis, water-resistant material can leave you in a serious bind. This may be a familiar story for you – you’re sitting outside at a 6 PM soccer game, and it starts to pour. The rain jacket you brought to ward against a light mist is suddenly soggy and saturated, and you are freezing. The only way to avoid this is to invest in truly waterproof gear. 
  • For Warm Waterproof Gear – Look no Further: 

    Mambe Blankets are 100% waterproof and designed with soccer parents in mind. Our outdoor blankets are uniquely designed with spectators in mind. Like the Hooded Blanket that snaps in the front and has pockets on the inside, so you don’t have to worry about holding the blanket on your shoulders, and your hands stay warm! You can sit on cold metal bleachers without worries because Mambe is the perfect sideline friend.

    “Best purchase I ever made. It makes watching Fall / Winter sports in the Pacific Northwest bearable! Watched my son play soccer last night… it was 39 degrees and raining hard… I was warm and dry!” 

    – Sarah C ★★★★★

    Keeping Your Young Soccer Player Safe

    As a parent, your only concern is not just you. You want your child to be able to perform to the best of their ability and stay safe and comfortable while they compete. Here are some tips for helping your soccer player during the cold seasons. 

    Ensure Your Child Warms Up: A proper warm-up should never be neglected, whether it is 90 degrees or 13. But young athletes often rely on their ability to jump into anything, recover quickly, and neglect to warm up properly. For soccer players, joints like the knees, hips, and ankles can be injured easily. For youth athletes, these injuries can cause problems down the road and inhibit proper growth and development. A solid warm-up routine cannot be under-emphasized for youth soccer players.

    Elements of a Good Warm-Up Include

    1. Raising heart rate and body temperature. You want to breathe heavily and get your heart pounding. Multi-directional movements and dynamic stretches are great exercises for soccer players to raise their heart rates.
    2. Activating the key muscle groups used during the sport. Specific exercises like hip CARS, light squats, and lunges are great for soccer players to engage in once their heart rate has been raised.
    3. Mobilizing these muscle groups is important. You can activate key muscle groups, but if your young athlete cannot perform the full range of motion, they will become prone to injury. For soccer players, there is lots of change in direction and speed, so each athlete must learn how each muscle group and joint is supposed to move and ease their bodies into these motions before playing at full effort. 
    4. Performing exercises at an intensity that is similar to what the athlete will be doing. For soccer players, this could mean small side scrimmages, short sprints, and high-intensity passing. This part of the warm-up is designed to implement sport-specific activities but at a high rate of movement.

    All aspects of a warm-up should help your young athlete warm up! Talking to your soccer player about the importance of the warm-up and encouraging them to take this part of the game seriously is a great way to help them engage in their health and hopefully prevent injuries. As a parent, the more you know about your child’s sport, the better you will be able to prepare them for the rigors of being a young athlete.

    Proper Gear: Providing your child with proper gear before, during, and after a match will help your athlete stay warm and prevent injury. In the cold weather seasons, it is wise to invest in a team-approved base layer for the top and bottom. Under Armour makes great compression shirts and pants that are often cleared for athletes to wear in competitions. While your athlete is off the field, it can get frigid. Packing a waterproof sideline blanket for the team to sit on is a great start. Having a waterproof jacket designed for cold weather for your athlete to wear while waiting to go into the game will keep them warm. Having mittens and ear warmers is also always an excellent idea. Essentially, the more gear you can send your athlete to a game with, the better. And remember: Waterproof is always best!

    Football

    Football season for the average youth begins in the extreme heat of August or July. Two-a-days in sweltering heat quickly fade into freezing hours spent under Friday Night Lights in October. As a parent, these drastic changes can feel hard to keep up with. One night you’re cheering from the bleachers in t-shirts and baseball caps; the next, you’re struggling to stay warm in the long sleeve you thought would be enough. During our years of outfitting dedicated fans, we at Mambe have learned it is always better to be safe than sorry. 

    Cold Metal Bleachers Have Nothing on You!

  • Prepare for the cold before it is cold: This may feel obvious, but you would be shocked at how many football fans come to the cold months with the same cotton jackets, threadbare hats, and mittens that have seen better years. It sometimes seems like winter creeps up on us and jump-scares us from behind. Don’t let it happen to you this year!
  • While your son is at practice or any other time you have a spare moment (we know how busy life can be), take out your winter gear and make an inventory. Do you have enough base layers–compression leggings and shirts? Are your jackets in good condition? Do you have the right things for rain? For snow? It is a great idea to know what you have ahead of time and to decide on what you will use the most! Then you can have a go-bag (if you’ll excuse the dramatic moniker) for when that first hint of chill begins to fill the air!

     

    • Get something to block the windThis may sound like an exaggeration, but bleachers often feel like wind tunnels. Whether it's the triangular design or the windchill just having a laugh, parents in the bleachers seem targeted by the wind. Sideways rain, sleet, and just pure blustery misery are all hallmarks of the football season. Prepare accordingly and stock up on gear that is windproof and waterproof. Bring a blanket, but look for one with a protective barrier to keep the soft fleece warm. We have a few suggestions: 
    •  
      1. The Extreme Weather Blanket is the perfect companion for bleachers. With fuzzy Polartec fleece on one side and 100% waterproof lining on the other, you are guaranteed to be cozy all season.
      2. The Cascade Jacket reaches well past your knees and provides the extreme warmth of a blanket but leaves your hands free to cheer your young athlete on as much as you want!

    Protecting Your Young Football Player

    Because of the physical nature of football, your son must be prepared physically and mentally. Preparing your mind to run full speed into a horde of relatively large boys is no easy task! And mental toughness plays a large role in competing during cold weather. 

    Here are some ways to help your son “warm up” mentally:

    Help your son come up with affirmations and write them on sticky notes. Put the sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, inside the mirror flap in their car (or your car if they are not driving yet), above the door handle, and so on. Really any place your son (and you–affirmations are good for everyone!) will see these and be able to remind himself that he is a great athlete and capable of performing at his best every day! Some examples of affirmations could be 
    1. I am a reliable teammate
    2. I am someone who trains hard
    3. I am motivated to help my team win
    4. I am able to play my best in any conditions 
    Teach your son the importance of a pregame routine:

    You may be familiar with the (somewhat silly) anecdotes of superstitious baseball players never washing their socks, tucking their gum into their socks, or wearing two different socks. Many of the world's best athletes do the same thing on the day of a game. This helps your brain and body know that it is time to compete. This could look like anything that helps your son get in the right head space for the game. Some examples of a great pregame routine are: 

      1. Listen to a song, album, or playlist that gets you amped. This could be Taylor Swift, rap, jazz, or bachata dance music. Whatever makes you feel ready to play your heart out!
      2. Eat the same food before a game. This leaves less to prepare for and is a very visceral way to remind your body that it is game time.
      3. Have a visualization exercise you do every time. This could look like imagining throwing the perfect touchdown pass or making the perfect block or tackle. Just pick an image, and walk through what this would feel like, what it smells like, and what it looks like in the same way before every game.

        A pregame routine will be unique to your young athlete. Remind them that just because a famous athlete does it one way, they do not need to do that. They are their own athlete, and they know what will work best for them. As the parent, you can guide them through this process and be there to give advice or answer questions as needed. These sorts of routines are even more crucial as variables like the weather change around your football player. We do not (yet) know how to control the weather. We can control our minds and our bodies (to some extent). Training this will help them adjust to rain, snow, heat, and any other variables more smoothly. 

        How to help your son prepare physically for cold weather

        Gear Up:

        As with anything, what you wear matters. Providing your young athlete with great base layers to wear under their football pads and jerseys.

        • Getting a good pair of gloves is incredibly important. For a football player, they cannot just slap on some mittens found at the bottom of a jacket pocket. The ability to have the ball stick in their hands is paramount. Investing in a pair of gloves with excellent stick and warmth will be a great way to keep their extremities warm.
        • And, as always, Waterproof is best! You’ve probably seen pictures of professional quarterbacks sitting on the sidelines of a game, watching film, hunched over in a sideline cape. Mambe just happens to make the best sideline cape in the game! The Hooded Blanket is great for your young football player to keep on the sideline. While waiting for their part in the game, they can drape the 100% waterproof, windproof, and incredibly cozy fleece blanket over their pads and stay warm and dry!

          Don’t just dress warmly. Move!

          A proper warm-up is one of the most important things for any athlete, especially young athletes. Although our intrepid youths may believe themselves invincible, unfortunately, they are not. Football players must become accustomed to wearing their heavy pads and tight clothing while also sprinting, jumping, throwing, catching, tackling, and other athletic performances. Warming up for football players is essential.

          Some things to remember

          • A warm-up should increase heart rate, body temperature, and breathing rate. You should work up a sweat and feel your body begin to adjust to the higher rate of… everything.
          • A warm-up should work through a series of increasingly active and powerful movements. Do not begin with running pass routes. Start with exercises designed to move and prepare the muscles, then work to more athletic and complicated motions. 
          • Mental attitude matters. If your young athlete’s heart and mind are not in the warm-up, they will not warm up well. This is especially hard to do when the weather just sucks. Being able to warm up even when snow is falling is crucial–and this takes a focused and steely mental attitude.

          What a good football warm-up will include:

          Every football warm-up should have these four steps: 

          • Dynamic Stretches - these look like high knees, jumping jacks, butt kicks and high knees, lunges, jump rope, and so on. Motions that are designed to move your athlete's body through full ranges of motion but do so quickly to raise the heart rate. 
          • Static Stretching - ONLY DO THIS AFTER YOUR BODY IS WARM. It is vital that you know this and that your son knows this. Simply touching your toes is not worthwhile if your body is “cold.” So after doing dynamic stretches, doing some static quad, calf, bicep, hip flexor, groin, and back stretches is safe. 
          • Athletic Motions - As the body slowly gets warmer and warmer, your son will be prepared to perform the motions unique to the sport of football. Each position’s warm-up will look different and largely depend on the team’s coach. You can remind your young athlete that it is vital they stay focused during these activities. If they are staring off into space and not paying attention, they will be caught off guard when it is their turn. If much of the warm-up is designed to help the athlete mentally prepare, they must not check out when they are not actively moving. You can help your son know this and give them a competitive edge!
          • Team Drills - Football is a team sport. If the team is not prepared to play together, everything will fall apart. Again this part of the warm-up is up to the coach, but you can help your son by teaching them the importance of being a good teammate. Of taking the drills seriously and focusing on the tasks at hand. 

          We hope that this is helpful for you as you navigate life with your young athlete. No one wants to get injured; unfortunately, cold weather can increase the chances of a pulled muscle or a bad fall. Avoid this by preparing the best you can. 


          Baseball

          Baseball is one of those sports that seems to stretch on forever – which makes sense considering the MLB has the longest season in American professional sports. This means that the baseball season will see its fair share of weather. If you are a baseball parent and rooting on your Little Leaguer, settling into a high school season, or cheering your son on at his traveling team, we are here to help you be comfortable during the long season.

          Prepare for Everything

          When it comes to being a parent, you are the CEO and Manager of your little humans (even if they are 17 and driving). It is so important that you are planning ahead for anything. But this also goes for you! As a parent of a young athlete, you are not just planning for your kid; you are planning for yourself to be present at the game to support your son. It is more difficult to actively watch a game if you are freezing in rain, snow, or sleet. So our best advice is to pack your car, not just with baseball gear and a couple of sweatshirts, but with heavy-duty waterproof, windproof, and warm things – just in case. Whether you’re driving far for travel baseball games or going to the diamonds at the local park, you will thank yourself for being ready. 

          Spectator Packing Checklist for Cold Weather Baseball

            • Warm Hats
            • Mittens
            • Baseball hats (in case it's sunny, and because it’s baseball)
            • One or two sweatshirts
            • A waterproof jacket
            • Blankets
            • Some snacks (for you and the kiddos)
            • Extra gear for your athlete (just in case)
            • Extra pair(s) of socks

          TIP: Always bring extras! You never know when you or your kid will need socks, mittens, a hat, etc. Or a fellow parent is missing something, and you can help out! Share the love and the warmth!

          This is a guideline, of course. You will find your own things you like. As a blanket company, we know the difference being warm can make while spectating. We have cheered our young athletes on with cotton blankets and water-resistant jackets and had a hard time focusing on the action. This is why our mission is to help parents stay warm on the sidelines! We make waterproof, winter-approved gear that will make your time cheering on your baseball player that much easier! 

          Here is what one parent had to say about a Mambe blanket at a baseball game:

          “Heard about this blanket from a friend after shivering through ANOTHER early season baseball game in upstate NY, where the wind always seems to blow right through your winter coat in the spring and fall. I am thrilled to say this blanket stopped the shivers, and I was toasty and warm the whole game! The carrying bag is a nice size, too, it is not hard to get the blanket back into the bag at the end of the game (wish sleeping bag carry bags could be this easy to use!). Highly recommend.” 
          – Catherine W. ★★★★★

          Helping your son stay warm

          Mambe for the Sidelines

          Not only is Mambe gear great for parents and spectators, but it’s also perfect for athletes! Baseball is a unique sport because depending on the inning, whose at-bat, and who takes the field, your son may spend a lot of time sitting in the dugout. This unique feature of America’s Favorite Pastime could mean your son spends a lot of time trying to stay warm for his time on the field. Investing in great cold-weather gear is one of the best things you can do for your young baseball player. These could be good gloves to keep their hands warm, baselayers for under their uniforms, hats to wear in the dugout, and maybe even under their helmets. But, in our opinion, one of the easiest things is to get them a waterproof blanket to sit on and wrap up in.

          Mambe makes great sideline gear for athletes – and teams can gear up together because we customize! Any logo, nickname, or unique quirk that makes the team a team, we can put on your blankets! Having customized team gear is not only a great way to keep all the athletes safe in freezing weather but also a great way for teams to bond. 


          Great Baseball Warm-Ups:

          We have said it over and over again, and we will keep saying it until the end of time: Warming up is vital to all athletes

           – especially young ones! As we said above, baseball is a unique sport with the potential for a lot of downtime, sitting, and waiting. Because of this, it is even more important that your son learn how to warm up efficiently. While a great warm-up before the game is vital, during cold weather games, it is even more important that they learn how to warm up before hitting and before taking the infield. 

          A good warm-up is supposed to raise the athlete's heart rate, respiration rate, and body temperature, as well as prepare their muscles, joints, and minds for the intensity of play. Baseball is a sport that can be hard on joints like the shoulders, knees, and hips, so it is important that a baseball warm-up helps get these joints moving properly.

          Here are some good warm-ups you can teach your son to do before taking the field.

          • Arm swings; stationary or moving
            • 5x forward and backward
            • 5 times side to side (like a hug)
          • Arm, Elbow, and Wrist Circles
            • 5x forward and backward
            • Slow is better than fast – this is to get the joints moving properly
          • Neck, Trunk, and Hip Rotations
            • 5-10x each direction
            • The form is better than speed, especially when working the neck
            • Hip rotations can be done while holding onto a fence or wall for balance
          • Leg Swings
            • 20x forward/backward, each leg
            • 20x left/right, each leg
            • Done holding onto a partner, a wall, or a fence
          • Prisoner Squats
            • 10x
            • Done with hands on head to help form
          • Walking Knee to Chest to forward lunge
            • 10 yards down and back
            • Focus on knee placement, above the ankle and firm. 
          • Backward Lunge with Twist
            • 10 yards down and back
            • While lunging, focus on a straight trunk. The twist should come from the hips, not the shoulders
          • Side Shuffles with arm swings
            • 10 yards down and back
          • Carioca 
            • 10 yards down and back
            • Focus on hip rotations and a full range of motion
          • Side shuffle to sprint
            • 20 yards out and back
            • Shuffle first 5-8 yards, sprint to end
            • Feet placement, forward motion, and increasing heart rate

          This is a great warm-up that your son can do on the sideline before taking their turn at bat. A good warm-up before taking the infield will involve their other teammates. But your son can warm up more by doing some backward sprints, side shuffles, and forward sprints (all very common motions in baseball), high knees, butt kicks, lunges, carioca, and more while they are waiting for the ball. Again, we cannot stress the importance of a great warm-up enough. And all this is better if they stay warm while sitting in their Mambe!


          Softball

          Softball is the female counterpart to baseball and is becoming a prevalent sport among young girls. The seasons are incredibly similar, with about 20 games each depending on the conference, the level, and the state. Because of the long duration of the softball season, chances are that you, as a parent, will be sitting outside in some form of inclement weather: snow, rain, sleet, or wind. No weather pattern is off the table regarding a softball season. At the risk of sounding redundant, you, as the parent, want to be able to support your daughter in her games fully. It is tough to focus on what is happening in the infield when you are shaking from head to toe or hopping up and down, trying to stay warm. Although you are there for your athlete, you must look out for yourself too! 

          Buy Yourself Something Warm…

          …or many things that are warm. Don’t just get the team sweatshirt and hope that this will keep you warm when the windchill drops. Get something that will protect you from all sorts of cold weather.

          You want waterproof, windproof, and able to keep you warm. For your body, we recommend a Mambe! You can try our unique Hooded Blanket that is uniquely designed for sports. You can snap it up and trust that no weather will keep you from cheering for your daughter. And moms – it has pockets! Deep ones on the INSIDE of the blanket, so your hands never have to leave the warmth of the Polartec fleece lining. 

           

          Or, if you are a more enthusiastic spectator and want your hands to be free, you can check out the Cascade Jacket. This winterproof jacket reaches well past your knees to ensure that every inch of you is warm and dry. You will have your hands free to wave, shout, clap, and high-five as much as you want!

          We also recommend bringing great mittens, a cozy hat, and something to sit on, like a stadium seat or a blanket. Hand warmers are always great, and a thermos filled with a warm drink is always a great idea to make watching your daughter hit home runs even more fun!

          Playing Softball in Cold Weather 

          Although Baseball may be titled America’s Favorite Pastime, Softball is quickly becoming very popular. In both softball and baseball, the goal is the same: Hit a ball moving at insane speeds very far and sprint around a diamond to touch four small square plates to score. These games are about precision, reflexes, and speed. How they differ, though, is not just in the gender of the athletes. 

          You may have heard softball called fastpitch interchangeably, and as your young daughter grows up in the sport, she will likely be playing fastpitch softball. And this means that the pitches will be… well, fast! Softball players around 10 can start slinging the ball at 30-45 MPH! This only increases as the young athletes get the hang of the sport, learn the technical aspects of the sport, and get stronger! The average pitch speed of a high school-aged softball player is around 50-55 MPH. Softball players must have quick reflexes and be ready for anything! 

          In cold weather, performing tasks at speed can be more difficult. You may have experienced the helpless feeling of your fingers moving like blocks of ice while trying to type a text on your phone. Now imagine feeling that cold and trying to move your body quickly. Warmth is vital for an athlete to perform well, and because softball is such a quick sport, it is even more important! 

          Give your Daughter Layers

          When it comes to youth sports, more is always better. Pack more layers than you think is sane. Young athletes tend to believe they don’t need warm-up gear like sweatpants and jackets and will often take the field bare-armed and shivering. As their parent, you can help them by packing baselayer options, mittens, hats, and warm blankets to wrap up in the dugout. As with baseball, softball has a lot of downtime while girls wait to take the infield or to bat. Staying warm in these in-between times is vital to your young athlete's performance.

          While you wrap up in your Mambe, it is a great idea to send your daughter with one for these moments of waiting. The team can get matching Mambes to stay warm in style and increase team unity! *pic of the softball team in Mambes. The Hooded Blanket is perfect for softball players because it keeps them warm and is easy to take on and off.

          Help Your Daughter Focus on Warming Up

          Sometimes, female athletes, especially young ones, can struggle with the periphery aspects of a sport. By this, we mean they take the actual competition incredibly seriously. Still, when it comes to warm-ups, team discussions, and occasionally practices, female athletes can get swept up in the camaraderie of being around their friends. There is nothing wrong with this. The stereotype that girls like to talk is often true, and girls’ sports tend to be filled with hilarious stories, jokes, and words flying every which way. (Anyone who coaches girls will tell you that this is a delight to be a part of and dramatically increases team unity if harnessed well. Girls play better when they are allowed to bring their whole selves to the game, joking around and talking with their teammates is often a part of this). Occasionally, however, this can keep the girls from fully warming up, harming them in their game.

          As the parent of a female athlete, you can help your daughter understand the importance of focusing during warm-ups. 

          Remember, a great warm-up has four parts: 

          Raising heart rate and body temperature. You want to breathe heavily and get your heart pounding. Multi-directional movements and dynamic stretches are great exercises for softball players.

          Activating the key muscle groups used during the sport. Specific exercises like hip CARS, light squats, arm circles, wrist circles, and lunges are great for softball players to engage in once their heart rate has been raised.

          Mobilizing these muscle groups is important. You can activate key muscle groups, but if your young athlete cannot perform the full range of motion, they will become prone to injury. For softball players, lots of squatting, changing direction, and speed is involved, so each athlete must learn how each muscle group and joint should move and ease their bodies into these actions before playing at full effort. 

          Performing exercises at a high intensity that is similar to what the athlete will be engaging in. This part of the warm-up is designed to implement sport-specific activities but at a high rate of movement.

          If your daughter is aware of the importance of the warm-up, it will help them focus and truly get their body and mind ready to play.

          Developing a Pregame Routine: 

          You can help your daughter develop a pregame routine. This means that they do something the same before every game. This could include something silly like making a handshake with each teammate and coach. This could look like blasting Taylor Swift in the car or on the bus. It could look like sitting quietly alone and mentalizing herself, throwing the perfect pitch, or hitting the perfect ball. 

          A great pregame routine depends on each athlete but helps them maintain a good mental state for a game. Remind your daughter that the game does not begin when the first pitch is thrown. The game begins the moment they wake up. Great athletes know that the more focused they are, the better they will play, and a pregame routine will help get them in the head space to perform at their best.


          Hockey

          Hockey is not usually an outdoor sport unless you grew up playing pond hockey! But the formalized sport is generally played in an ice rink. And although these are often warmer for spectators than outdoor games, the heat lights don’t reach every spot in the bleachers, and it can get cold

          Outfitting the Hockey Mom (and dads)

          Hockey moms (and dads) are a unique breed of fan. Often they are tough as nails and incredibly vocal – and proud of this. And they should be! Hockey players play a fast, physical sport, and you often see the backbone and grit in the parents just as much as you see in the young players. 

          But hockey moms and dads can get cold, and hockey is much more fun to watch when you are comfortable. Here are some tips to stay warm at the rink: 

          • Wear a thick hat - The old wives' tale that you lose half of your body heat from your head is, in fact, a myth. A 2008 study found that you lose about 10% of your body heat from your head – which corresponds to the surface area of your head. You are more likely to lose heat this way because we often forget to cover our heads! You can lose heat from any part of your body, but we quickly put on long sleeves and long pants when it is cold. We are more reluctant to wear hats, although we can’t be sure why – something about messing up hair? Who knows. But investing in a great hat is an excellent way to make hockey spectating that much more fun.
          • Wear Mittens - Much like the previous example, covering up your hands is a great idea. Heavy-duty leather mittens called choppers are very popular among hockey players and parents. They are stylish and incredibly warm, perfect for the indoor or outdoor rink. You can learn more about the history of choppers and why they are so fantastic here!
          • Indulge in Concession Stand Hot Chocolate - It may seem like a silly recommendation, but a warm beverage makes a big difference. Not only will you have something toasty to hold onto, but you will also begin to warm up from the inside out, with the added benefit of supporting a local rink! 
          • Bring something to sit on - Hockey bleachers are either metal or concrete, and neither material is known for its warmth (unless it’s been baking in the sun…). One of the best ways to stay warm at a hockey game is to bring a blanket to sit on. There are many blankets out there, but Mambe blankets are unique in that they are designed for cold environments and can keep you warm at indoor and outdoor games. With one side lined with a waterproof layer and the other made of Polartec fleece, you are guaranteed never to feel the chill of the seat. You can place the waterproof side down, wrap your legs in the cozy fleece and cheer on your son or daughter in total warmth. And because team pride is so important, you can get the logo customized to prove your support for your young athlete.

          One hockey dad used his Mambe at an outdoor game: 

          “Perfect fit. Great for the travel hockey parent. Keeps you warm and comfortable in any indoor or outdoor rink. Well worth the price.”
          –Jospeh M. ★★★★★

          Warmth for the Young Hockey Player

          Hockey players are unique in that they tend to thrive in cold environments. Everything about the sport is designed to warm them up, and anyone who has been near a hockey bag knows how sweaty these athletes get! So preparing your hockey player for the sport is less about teaching them how to warm up and making sure they have great winter gear.

          Because the sport is geared toward snowy weather, teams often sell incredible hats, mittens, jackets, and more. These are great to purchase, not only to help your son or daughter feel a part of their team culture but because you can be sure these are hats and mittens they will wear!

          As the parent of a hockey player, it will most likely be your job to make sure these hats and mittens make it to games and outdoor pickup games or street hockey sessions. We recommend developing a checklist with your young athlete – or just keeping some extra hats and mittens in your vehicles!


          Lacrosse

          Lacrosse is incredibly popular in the midwest and eastern parts of the United States and is gaining popularity everywhere else! Often, this sport can begin when there is still snow on the ground – we’ve heard stories of lacrosse games being plowed off before the players could take the field! As with many sports, lacrosse can be a springtime sport, in which rain, sleet, and, as we said, snow are all factors; or it can be a year-long sport, and the same issues can arise with the weather.

          As a parent of a youth lacrosse player, you want to support your son or daughter through everything – we know you are not a fair-weather fan! 

          Prepping for Cold Weather Lacrosse Games

          As with most things in life, when it comes to cheering on your young athlete, preparing for any eventuality is best. Your car may be filled with sticks, masks, pads, and cleats, but we recommend finding room for cold-weather gear, just in case. 

          Here is a solid checklist for you to run through before every game or tournament: 

          For the Spectators

        • Mittens
        • Hat or Headband - something for the ears
        • Hand warmers
        • Stadium Seat
        • For the Athlete: 

          This checklist is not 100% comprehensive, but our best advice for this entire list is to buy quality and when possible waterproof! 

          Take blankets, for example. Blankets can often be made of cotton, which is a nightmare in damp conditions. Although the tie blanket from your linen closet is cute, it will make you colder if it begins to drizzle or snow. And cotton does not always keep out wind, which is a major problem for athletes and spectators. 

          As a waterproof blanket company, Mambe takes this problem seriously. We believe that weatherproof is best and make all our products guaranteed to keep you warm in any season. Take the Hooded Blanket, for example. It is the perfect sideline companion for spectators and athletes! With easy snaps, you don’t have to worry about the blanket falling off your shoulders, and its roomy design will fit over any coat and lacrosse pads so you and your athlete can stay warm! It is 100% waterproof and windproof and has a heat-reflecting fleece liner. But don’t take our word for it! 

          “Love my Mambe blanket. Great for sitting and watching grandkids' Lacrosse games. It’s warm and comfortable.” 
          –Karley M. ★★★★★
          “We ordered two of these customized weather-proof blankets and are thrilled with them. They are seriously warm and do a great job of fending off the wind and rain. They make rooting for our son's lacrosse team much more fun on chilly game nights. The included carrying bags are great as well.” 
          –Jason K. ★★★★★

          At Mambe, it is our mission to make being a parent of a young athlete even more enjoyable. We know you love to cheer on your superstar, but sometimes the weather does get in the way. But not with a Mambe! We’ve got you covered so you can focus on supporting your son or daughter as they leave it all out on the field. 

          Track and Field and Cross Country

          Running sports are unique in that the meets are very long – especially Track and Field. An invitational high school meet can take all day or even a full weekend, depending on the size of the event! This means that these meets can be miserable in the late fall months and early spring. 

          Preparing for Meets as a Parent

          As a parent of a runner, you may be die-hard and watch every athlete and every event. But many parents do not have the time to sit at every meet for the whole time. So when preparing for long Track and Field and Cross Country meets, you must know when and where your athlete will be. 

          For Track and Field, this is a bit easier. Know what event your athlete is competing in. Generally, Track and Field meets run in a specific order from state to state, so look up this order ahead of time and have your son or daughter tell you which events they will be in! You can plan to be outside at just the right moments and then retreat to a fieldhouse or a car if the weather is atrocious! 

          Cross Country meets tend to run separated by boys and girls varsity and JV teams. Depending on the state, a meet may look like this: Girls JV, Boys JV, Girls Varsity, Boys Varsity. But do not take this as gospel. If you want to watch your son or daughter run, be sure to know the details of the meet ahead of time. Your son or daughter’s coach should know this and be able to help you plan accordingly. 

          Pack Extra Everything

          When you are preparing for a meet, be sure to throw some extras of everything in your car. Track and Field and Cross Country teams tend to have a lot of athletes, and these athletes are incredibly diverse! Some athletes may forget to bring blankets, and it is always welcome when a parent comes bringing armloads of blankets or coats. Here is a list of some things it is a great idea to bring extra of to a meet: 

          • Socks - this may sound odd, but your son or daughter's feet will get wet in inclement weather. Having extra pairs of socks is a great way to save the day!
            • Handwarmers - These can be bought in bulk and are always a lifesaver on cold days
            • Blankets - The more blankets a running team can have, the better. There are never too many blankets!
            • Mittens - Many runners forget that mittens are a thing! As a parent, having some in the car is always smart. 

            As a spectator, you also want to stay warm. However, you may find that some of your gear gets absorbed into the team on especially frigid days (again, always bring extra), so you want to make sure that the jacket you have is incredibly effective. Mambe makes gear specifically for this purpose! 


            “I purchased 2 Mambes for my boys to use at their track and field meets. As soon as they put them down, other teammates grab them. I wish I would have gotten these a long time ago!”

            –Jennifer L. ★★★★★


            You can stay warm in your Mambe and also help your young runner prepare to perform at their best! 


            The Importance of Warmth and Running

            This article's author was a Track and Field runner in Minnesota and has her fair

            share of stories about running in the cold. Some of her first practices of the high school Track and Field season were shoveling off the track so the team could run. Now, she coaches Track and Field in Washington and has more experience in how vital it is that runners stay warm in bad weather. Here is some advice on how to help your athlete stay warm and compete to the best of their ability – even if it is snowing. 

            What You Wear Matters

            Many runners, especially girls, want to wear shorts. I’m not sure what this is all about – maybe it’s a style thing – but it is dangerous for runners. As an athlete, my coach required us to wear our warm-ups until the moment we were getting on the starting line. This meant sweatpants and a jacket at a minimum. As a coach, I now have the same requirement for my athletes. I know it is hard enough to stay warm, and the more help you give your body, the better you will perform. 

            As a parent, you can help your athlete by explaining this to them. Sometimes athletes roll their eyes at the warm-up rule and see it as a silly “coach’s quirk.” If you help them understand that this is more than just a coach being over-the-top, they will be more inclined to listen and wear proper cold-weather gear. 

            Here is a list of things I consider appropriate gear for cold weather: 

            • Leggings (alone or under shorts)
            • Sweat pants
            • Compression shirts
            • Sweatshirts
            • Jackets
            • Mittens
            • Hats
            • Headbands

            In warmer months, I still prefer my athletes to wear long pants. This may be more of a coach's quirk, but I know it works!

            A Good Warm-Up is Paramount

            For Cross Country and Track and Field runners, there is a lot of sitting around and waiting. As an athlete, this was my favorite part of the sport (I liked running, but I liked my friends more!). But in cold weather, this means your athlete is under a sports tent, most likely without sides, and they are exposed to wind, rain, sleet, and snow without mercy. These conditions do not lend to peak athletic performance, so your young runner must understand the importance of warming up well before their race or event. 

            For a runner, this means, at minimum, 45 minutes of high activity before a race. My athletes warm up the moment they get off the bus and then again before each event. Here are some examples of a great warm-up. The below warm-up is more geared toward a Track and Field season. But this is beneficial for Cross Country runners as well. I provided some throwing warm-ups below as well!

            • Sprinters (100-400 M): Jog twice around the track (or infield, depending on the track) - increase heart rate, breathing rate, and body temp
            • Long Distance (800-3200 M): Jog a mile (4x around track)

            (Everything for 20-25 Meters)

            • Heel Walk 
            • Toe Walk 
            • Quad Stretch (hold for a count of three)
            • Grass Sweepers (fast but controlled movement)
            • Over/Under (like going over and under hurdles)
            • Forward lunges
            • Butt Kicks
            • High Knees
            • Open the gate
            • Close the gate
            • Crossover
            • Sideways shuffle
            • Sideways skip
            • Skip for height
            • A-Skip*
            • B-SKip*
            • C-Skip*
            • 3-5 50-80 M Accelerators*

            *Your athletes’ coach should know what these are and be able to teach them. These are considered “running mechanics” and are crucial to teaching the body how to run correctly and effortlessly.

            href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KzJ00-eAPE">Throwing Warm-Ups - Many throwers don’t like to run. This is okay, but a warm-up job is incredibly beneficial to throwers, especially on cold days!

            A good warm-up can make the difference between a PR or a terrible race. As a parent, help your athlete understand this. During a Cross Country and a Track and Field meet, it is up to your athlete to know when their event is and when they should warm up. You can help your son or daughter perform even better by helping them understand that while sitting in the tent with friends is fun, warming up is vital to their health and performance.

             

            We Hope This Guide Helps

            At Mambe, we are parents of young athletes, so we have spent our fair share of time freezing on the sidelines of soccer games and Track meets. That is why it is our mission to help other parents avoid being miserable and truly enjoy cheering on their children.