Many of my clients approach me about how to navigate the big challenges in modern youth sports culture. We’re going to dive into this issue in three installments. In this first installment, I’ll be going over a trend we’re seeing more of: early specialization.
The first thing to watch out for is handling the trend of early specialization. Early specialization is when our kids play one sport early on and continue playing it at a high level throughout their youth, sometimes even going on to play it in college. This has a huge impact on our children’s journey through youth sports.
The problem that comes along with this is that there are very high levels of overuse injuries. Young bodies are under a ton of stress playing one sport year-round at intense levels, resulting in injuries we rarely saw in kids a generation ago.
We’re also seeing young athletes face repetition and the daily grind at a much earlier age, long before they are mentally equipped for it.
You can prevent overuse injury by encouraging your child to play multiple sports until they’re at least 15 or 16 years old. Playing multiple sports forces an athlete to use different muscles in different ways – this alone helps to prevent overuse injuries.
It also helps keep young athletes mentally fresh. Most athletes develop the ability to undergo repetition required of sports specialization at age 15 or 16.
In the next installment, I’ll be going over finding the best training environment for young athletes.
Need more advice on how to navigate the big challenges in today’s youth sports culture? Click here to contact Erika Westhoff.