How to Prepare for a New GOTR Season
You read the flyer, found a team near you, and registered your girl. Now what?
As you learned in your discovery of Girls on the Run, our program stands apart from the competition and is proud to be unique – just like our participants! So, unsurprisingly, preparing for Girls on the Run is also an equally meaningful, special, and fun experience for you and your future GOTR superstar.
Remember: unlike other after-school programs, our curriculum blends physical movement with topics that matter to 8- to 10- year-old girls such as understanding emotions, fostering friendships, expressing empathy, and standing up for ourselves. In fact, a recent independent study provided evidence that Girls on the Run makes a stronger impact than both organized sports and physical education in teaching life skills that benefit girls at home, at school, and with their friends.
We believe that all girls deserve to take part in a program that nurtures and empowers their every need. Preparing and thinking about the season ahead of time makes the experience all the more impactful. To get a jumpstart on your girls’ GOTR season, check out these six prep-steps that will have her feeling equipped, confident and excited to get started!
(P.S. Has your season already started? Some of these tips still apply. Be sure to bookmark this blog for next season!)
Set Personal Goals and Takeaways
Before the season begins, sit down with your soon-to-be GOTR team member, and ask what they hope to accomplish and take away from the program. Every Girls on the Run coach is trained on how to connect with participants, which includes supporting their seasonal goals. Some participants aim to boost their confidence level or widen their friend circle, while others strive to speak up more during discussions or embrace movement by completing a 5K. During this conversation, you can also reassure your child that every person goes at their own pace and that the program is a welcoming place for all. By placing attention on what’s relevant to your GOTR star, you will be equipped to ask meaningful check-in questions and offer support as they work toward their goals.
To amplify your girl’s confidence prior to the season, introduce the joy of movement and show that physical activities can be fun, empowering, and reflective of her interests. Jumpstart the process by engaging in physical activities that you can do together. Going on neighborhood walks, exploring local parks, watching/enacting exercise videos on YouTube, supporting one another or family members with laborious chores, playing games outside… The list goes on! Plan out specific days and hours in which you can dedicate time to these activities, and ultimately try to make movement a healthy habit consistent in your girl’s life! From there, she will be ready to lead by example and enter practice with her head held high.
Fuel Your Body
Throughout the season, your girl will be exercising her body and mind, so it’s important that she has plenty of fuel in the tank! Using an innovative blend of movement-based games, group discussions, and fun physical activities, participants explore new ways of moving while they learn life skills. As your child’s activity level increases, pay attention to how they are nourishing their body – specifically their nutrition and hydration. Prior to the season, lead by example: Shop with healthy habits in mind, and demonstrate why a healthy lifestyle is so important. Drinking water regularly, consuming high-nutrient foods, and getting enough sleep all factor in to how your girl will concentrate during lessons, connect with peers, and collaborate during projects.
Set a Routine
Establishing a consistent schedule – dinner time, homework time, bedtime, practice time, etc., ahead of the season will make jumping into GOTR practices – and all of the fun that goes into them – much smoother. Consistent balance and structure will give your GOTR participant the clarity, energy, and self-assurance they need to reap all of the powerful and positive benefits of our program. Unpredictable routines and scattered agendas tend to overwhelm our mental capacity. As a result, this often prevents us from investing our full attention in the tasks at hand. Additionally, when schedules are consistent, it is much simpler to set, adapt, and follow through on goals, which is a big part of the GOTR season!
Wearing the proper gear can make a big difference in your girl’s comfort level and movement experience. Let’s start with footwear! If she does not already have a trusty pair of sneakers, get your girl fitted for a good pair of running shoes that provide support and cushioning. Should time allow, break them in with some fun movement activities. And GOTR has your back if purchasing shoes may be a challenge! Just let your team’s head coach know and they will connect you to our shoe program with adidas. In addition to wearing proper footwear, having comfortable, weather-appropriate socks, shirts, and bottoms at the ready is also very important. Begin implementing a system where your girl knows to check the forecast, pack a bag, and/or lay out her GOTR outfit in advance. If you have questions about best practices for clothing, don’t hesitate to ask your coaches!
Leading up to Girls on the Run, remind your girl that many fun, empowering, and memorable days are on the horizon. If she is feeling nervous or entering an environment in which she does not know anyone, embrace a positive mindset and review the benefits of the program. Explain the role of GOTR’s compassionate coaches and that the program is a place where everyone belongs. And if they are feeling confident about the next season, embrace positivity all the same! Inspire them to uplift their teammates, welcome those who are new, and celebrate everyone’s progress. Throughout the season, encourage your GOTR girl to focus on her strengths and that every step forward is an achievement and that the journey (practice) is just as important as the destination (5K Celebration). And above all else, reassure her that you’ll be rooting for her from start to finish!