How Moms Help their Kids in Sports

As youth athletics have become more widespread, competitive and time consuming, moms have elevated their game to support their kids in sports.

Seventy percent of moms are raising kids in competitive sports, creating a group of “Sports Moms” nearly 13 million strong, according to the “Gatorade Sports Moms Study,” a poll of 900 moms of middle and high school students.

Sports Moms spend one-third more time and more than twice as much money across their children’s entire span of extracurricular activities than moms without kids in sports.

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Despite this, 79 percent of Sports Moms report that it’s “no problem” balancing these added demands with their other responsibilities, further reinforcing their commitment to their kids’ sports.

And according to the study, of all the things moms do to support their athletes’ success, they say the area where they have the greatest influence is in their athletes’ nutrition.

“This study was unique because we looked at the mom behind the athlete to see what she does to fuel her athletes’ success,” said Sarah Robb O’Hagan, president of Gatorade North America and global chief marketing officer for PepsiCo sports nutrition.

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The study polled moms to identify their perceived roles, challenges, motivations and rewards, as it relates to their children’s sports, and took a deeper dive to better understand the moms behind today’s young athletes.

The study was conducted by Glass Box Research on behalf of Gatorade, a company with over 40 years of athletic insights and sports science expertise.

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Youth athletes need balanced meals that provide appropriate nutrients, vitamins, minerals and caloric intake to fuel their sports performance, and Sports Moms agree (94 percent) that proper nutrition is important for their young athletes to perform at their best.

The study found that there are additional nutritional challenges when raising an athlete. For example, moms reported that kids in sports eat an extra meal a week and two more meals away from home than kids who aren’t in sports.

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Despite their commitment to nutrition, Sports Moms have concerns and knowledge gaps around their role, including:


Seventy-five percent of Sports Moms don’t know that in order to help promote muscle recovery, their athletes should consume protein within a 30-60 minute window post-exercise.


Seventy-six percent of Sports Moms think their kids are properly hydrated, but research shows that 70 percent of teen athletes show up for athletic events dehydrated.

Pre- and post-game fuel

Forty percent feel their athletes don’t get the right nutrients to keep them on top of their game during practice and competition. More than half report that their kids aren’t eating appropriately to fuel before practice. And almost half admit their athletes are unable to eat a meal within an hour of practice or competition.

The findings of the study were released Monday, March 21.

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Recognizing the important role Sports Moms play in their kids’ athletic lives, Gatorade has devoted a new site to help moms support their athletes’ quests to become their best.

Found at, the site is a resource for sports nutrition information, training tips and advice from scientists at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).

The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo, provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at competitive levels and across a broad range of sports.

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Rakesh Raman