Dr. Keith Feder Blog, 04/07/18
Today: How to lead a young athlete to the top elite level without injury
Every parent of an athlete is afraid that their kid might stumble and fall on their way to the top. Injuries can be devastating for a kid that wants to make it from the High School to the club and possibly college level. Keeping your child injury free and possibly moving him or her to the elite level category of being an athlete is doable if parents and children work together and follow a certain plan. Here are some pointers what to watch out for when you are the parent of an athlete:
- Recognize when there is too much participation in sports by your kid
- Do not specialize in just one sport until they turn 14, 15 or even 16 years old
- Even in that specialty sport the maximum participation should only be 8 to 9 months a year. The body needs rest.
- You should only play on one team at a time. I am not a big proponent of kids playing in High School and then on a Club Team at the same time. It’s just too strenuous on the body.
- In addition to that you want to keep the child healthy. You do that by looking at the big three “watch out categories”: a) frequency, b) duration and c) intensity.
- You don’t want to ramp up either of those categories too fast. Max should be ten percent at a time.
- Furthermore you want the young athlete to be prepared for the ramp up. They need to have proper strength, proper flexibility and proper fitness before participating in the sport.
- And let’s not forget the most important aspect of all of this. Recovery is the most important thing. Proper recovery takes away the opportunity of overuse and therefore injury. Using ice, proper hydration is critical and the right nutrition is absolutely crucial.
Following these simple steps might not guarantee that your child will become a successful athlete, but it certainly will help to prevent certain injuries from popping up at a time in your kid’s life that should be filled with fun and great experiences in whatever sport they choose.