Over-specialization among young athletes is a frequent topic on this blog. As more kids engage the same sport year-round, the repetitious nature of that activity can lead to a spike in stress injuries and asymmetrical development.
It bears repeating that when kids do just one thing all the time, they place themselves at risk for the kind of sports-specific traumas that professional athletes face. Intensive training should belong to several activities, not just one.
The NBA seems to agree, as they recently issued a new set of guidelines for young players:
The guidelines, co-authored by USA Basketball, pushed three main points:
Delay single-sports specialization in basketball until age 14 or older.
Limit high-density scheduling based on age-appropriate guidelines.
Ensure rest from organized basketball at least one day per week, extended time away from organized basketball each year and adequate sleep each night.
Kids need space to rest, grow, and thrive. Mixing up their athletics is a key to cultivating a healthy and broad-based physical development. If you have questions about how much is too much among young athletes, contact the San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Center today.