The Path to a Successful Hike

Aug 02, 2016

Turn off your electronics, unplug your phones, and don’t look back. 

Even a couple of hours without technology is the best way to get in touch with your body, spirit, and mind.  Whether it’s on mountain hills, dirt trails, or open green grass plains, hiking is a calming activity that everyone needs to take time to try. While you can hike solo, hiking as a group requires teamwork.

There are places to hike everywhere! A local park in the city or outside the city is perfect for a beginner hiker to practice walking a few miles. For those city hikers who want a challenge, find a long trail located in a local park.  A trail outside of the city is just as easy to find.

What should you do if someone in your group is less experienced with hiking?

It’s important to note the experience each of your group members have with hiking. Some may not have hiked a day in their life, so they might want an easy course. Others may hike every chance they get, so they might want a challenge course. Since you will want to pick a trail that the entire group can hike, ask an experienced hiker to pair up with a less experienced hiker. This way the experienced hikers can practice their teamwork and leadership skills.

**COACHES: Cover these topics with your group before you start the hike**

Keep in mind that the distance you walk forward is the same distance you have to walk back (unless you have someone to drive you back to your starting point).

Teamwork is very important to remind your group about while hiking. In order to accomplish the same goal, of finishing the hike, your group needs to work together. Respect that running out in front of everyone will not make the hike go faster. Stay together and help each other. The consequences of running ahead will create a ripple effect of negativity. The member far ahead might get lost, the members behind might turn the wrong way, or someone could get hurt and no one would know.

Read more about teamwork in lesson 2 of our Badges for Baseball Coaches Manual, which can be found on the Materials page.  (Not yet registered?  Create a free account to unlock access to all of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation’s online resources.)

What are 3 things to keep in mind while forming your hiking group?

  • Make sure that the group isn’t too large. If you have a large group, split the group into smaller groups of 6-10 people including at least 1 adult leader.
  • Group kids by age and fitness level as much as possible.
  • Ensure the health and safety of your members by confirming they have brought their inhalers, EpiPens, and anything else they might personally need. Bringing along a first aid kit never hurts either.  

What should you pack for a day hike?

It’s important to pack wisely, but pack light: a regular size backpack is perfect for most hikes. Make sure you bring water to stay hydrated and snacks to keep your energy high. Necessities for all levels of hikes also include sunscreen, sunglasses, bug spray, and comfortable and durable shoes. For high level hikes, add an extra pair of clothes and along the way, have your group find a chest-high walking stick, like a fallen tree branch. (Remind kids that practicing respect includes our surroundings as well!) A walking stick helps even the most experienced hikers accomplish their goals. Although not necessary, a walking stick can help to support your weight and take a lot of pressure off of one’s legs.

Do you enjoy hiking or have you ever taken a group of kids hiking?  Share your tips and experiences in the comments.