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Research indicates that 10,000 hours of activity are necessary to move a person’s skill set to a significantly upgraded level. Is that the kind of commitment your son or daughter should be making to lacrosse?
Dr. Richard Ginsburg, a noted clinical sports psychologist and a member of the US Lacrosse Sports Science and Safety Committee, recommends that youth players play just one sport per season and have at least one to two days off per week. He also stresses that kids should have extended time off, preferably with a break of at least two or three months.
To avoid burnout and overuse injuries, Ginsburg suggests the following measures:
Sit down with your kids and map out their athletic schedules. Write down how many times they practice and for how long, and then tally the number of games and tournaments they will play in a month. Do you see any days off? Ideally, kids should play just one sport per season. Experts suggest that training and competition in one sport be limited to 16-20 hours per week.
If your child chooses to play only one sport year-round, s he or she taking several months away from that sport each year? This policy could be integral to protect the health and athletic longevity of your son or daughter by allowing the body and mind to recover. And when kids do start a new season, they should ease into it. Make sure they increase their training and play by no more than 10 percent each week.
The NCAA sets limits on the number of practices and total hours per week that Division I athletes may be involved in required sports activity, but no such regulations exist for youth sports. As a parent, set the limits you feel are age and developmentally appropriate for your child. “In some cases, youth lacrosse teams are playing up to five tournament games in back-to-back days in extreme weather conditions,” Ginsburg said. “Why is this OK for youth but not OK for young adults who are stronger and less vulnerable to dehydration and over-use injuries?”
Additional recommendations from the US Lacrosse Sports Science & Safety Committee about youth participation can be accessed online at uslacrosse.org/safety.
US Lacrosse believes it’s imperative that parents stay educated on the issues trending in our sport. Read the full seven-point check for parents in Lacrosse Magazine’s March issue, and visit the Parents section for more resources.
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