What Should I Bring to Practice?

First time sports parents often wonder how to prepare for the first practice. While some practice essentials are specific to each sport, there are several things that are important to have at any practice. Here is what we recommend bringing with you to any game or practice.

8 Essentials for Any Sport Practice

1. Water

A refillable water bottle is essential! Whether practices are held outside our indoors, during hot summer months or in the middle of winter, staying hydrated is important. Drinking water during physical activity helps to replace fluids that are lost when players sweat. Hydration is important for player health and to keep athletes performing at their optimal level.

Pro Tip: Pack a cooler with enough drinks and snacks to keep you and the kids fueled for 1-2 hours.

2. Appropriate Shoes

When it comes to youth sports, footwear matters. While it is not necessary for kids to have expensive, top of the line athletic shoes, having appropriate footwear that fits correctly is important. First and foremost, it is hard for kids to enjoy themselves at practice if they are uncomfortable. More importantly, incorrect footwear can put more strain on an athlete’s feet, ankles, and knees. Having appropriate footwear can help athletes avoid injury.

3. Extra Clothes

Pack an extra change of clothes to keep in their sports bag or in the car. These come in handy if weather is changing and you may need a jacket or pants. It also helps if it starts to rain and you have a dry pair of clothes to change into afterwards.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget about yourself! Pack extra clothes for you and any other siblings who may also get rained on. Umbrellas can also be helpful for you on the sidelines. Depending on your venue, you may even be able to pack one of the tailgate tents for shade.

4. Comfortable Chairs and Blankets

Don’t forget about the family on the sidelines! Bring comfortable chairs to sit in, bleacher seats help if your venue has bleachers. Blankets come in handy in the fall and spring when the weather is still trying to decide if it wants to be hot or cold. Hand warmers may also be on your list as it gets colder.

Pro Tip: For those that have to watch from the bleachers, they make bleacher seats so you have a cushion to sit on, some of them even have a back cushion!

5. First Aid Kit

Even if you keep it nearby in the car, having a first aid kit nearby with band aids, ace wraps, anti-inflammatory medication, and dry ice packs is another pro tip for sports parents. You never know how far your venue may be from the nearest medical resources. Even if you’re at a park with full staff, you may be on the field furthest from the main building.

6. Protective Gear

Depending on the sport your child plays, protective gear may be an essential need for practices and games. For example, helmets, mouth guards, shin guards, kneepads, or other safety gear is mandatory in many youth sports. You want to make sure these items fit properly so they can best protect your child from injury.

7. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is often overlooked for athletes. If your child practices outdoors, especially in the summer, it is a good idea to make sure they have sunscreen on hand.

Pro Tip: If you’re dropping them off, be sure to leave some in their bag so they can reapply. Reapplying is important when sweating and participating in outdoor sports for 1-2 hours.

8. Positive Attitude

Believe it or not, this one tends to be forgotten and left at home. Having a positive attitude is a great thing to bring to the field! Encourage your child, cheer them on, and be supportive of their efforts. Your enthusiasm can make a big difference in their experience. Some parents choose to yell and critique from the sidelines. However, if you want your kids to stay motivated and stick with sports long-term, keeping a positive attitude can be the difference.


Pack these essentials on your first practice and you’ll look like a seasoned sports parent. Soon you’ll be giving the other parents pro tips! 


Young baseball players in black i9 Sports jerseys and helmets sitting on a bench in the dugout.