True story. Yesterday, a gentleman who had called me a few days earlier brought in his pre-teenaged son for his first training session. He told me that his son is a baseball player, and that he just received his son’s baseball schedule from January through July of 2013. His son will play in over 70 games in 6 months!
Are you kidding me, I laughingly asked? But no, he was serious.
A pre-teen playing that many games in 6 months is laughable to me. But, more and more, I’m hearing about these kids especially in baseball, but also in soccer, lacrosse, and swimming who are playing more games, than actually training for the game. And as a result, I am training more kids today whos parents come to me tell me about the surgeries and various injuries their kids have or had, that were a rarity years ago.
Now, I know someone out there will say, “Well professional baseball players play 182 games. And they don’t practice much once the season starts.”
My answer to that is… Exactly! They are professionals! Your kid is not.
Professional baseball players also get complete days off. They have professional message therapist on staff. They have treatment rooms equipped with ice baths, and heating packs. They have athletic trainers to tend to nagging injuries and a strength coach like me to work on making sure they are in tip top shape for that long season.
Parents have to be mindful of the amount of Repetitive Stress being placed upon their kid’s young bones, muscles and nervous systems. Carefully monitor your kids for nagging injuries that seem not to go away. Look for signs of stress, irritability, pain in the shoulders, arms, and legs, as these can be signs of overuse and fatigue.
I have written past articles on parents having their kids specialize in one sport. I firmly believe the best athletes in many sports tend to be the ones who have played multiple sports. Playing multiple sports forces the athlete to train multiple muscle groups in all three planes of movement, instead of using the same muscles over and over again. Playing multiple sports also trains the body to perform aerobically and anaerobically.
If your athlete only enjoys playing one sport, then I recommend that they find a good sports performance coach asap, to work on balancing out those overused muscle groups. We can create strength in the underused muscles, and help the overused muscles recover.
Yours in Sports Performance,