HealthZone Physio: How much is too much – Youth Sport


How much is too much – Youth Sport

Recently in the mainstream media* there has been articles talking about the down side of early specialisation and overload in youth sport.  This is in keeping with a growing body of scientific research that has been conducted both here and internationally that is echoing these concerns. Given that so many of the members at AUT Millennium have children who are at an active age, the team at Healthzone Physiotherapy wanted to give a couple of tips for how to manage this ‘growing’ issue.

  1. During peak height velocity (when your child is growing at their most rapid rate, think 12-16yrs old)…structured sport adding up to more than 14 hours per week is guaranteed to cause injury.
  2. Those who specialise in a sport early actually have less of a chance of making it as an elite athlete.
  3. Early specialisation also commonly leads to overuse injuries, burnout, de-motivation and drop out.
  4. Taking a rest is NOT a bad thing.  Giving your child a week or two off when they are experiencing growth related pains is not going to harm their ability to perform.  In fact by letting them continue they may sustain a serious injury that would most definitely affect their performance.  Prevention is the best treatment.

At Healthzone Physio we see a large number of youth athletes with a variety of injuries.  The vast majority of these could have been avoided by simply taking a rest when the early warning signs presented.

If you are concerned about the volume of sport your child is participating in or if they are constantly getting injured, feel free to come in for an assessment and chat about how to best manage their active lifestyles.