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Thread: Too much is too much!

  1. #1
    Administrator Ken Stallings's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Atlanta, GA

    Default Too much is too much!

    This ESPN article is just one glimpse at a worrisome trend in youth sports in multiple areas. The vast gap between most kids and those kids being groomed for collegiate and professional sports has grown. It used to be that kids were kids and would play a few games of baseball in the summer Small Fry and Little League venues, and go back to school. Then, in their junior high years they would play sports at that level.

    This article points out the explosion of stress related injuries that the NBA is facing now. And, it points a clear finger at the role of the AAU basketball circuit.

    But, it isn't merely basketball that's been in the crosshairs. Baseball has been looking at this, and many Hall of Fame players have gone on record expressing serious concerns with the depth and duration of the many different youth leagues. It has turned into yearlong baseball competitions and training for kids in their junior high school years. John Smoltz in particular is noted for criticizing the over development of these youth leagues in baseball, saying that the explosion of Tommy John surgery points to over training. Doctors who perform this surgery, including the doctor who pioneered the technique, has warned parents that the surgery should not be considered a panacea nor a preventative elective surgery.

    Smoltz in particular believes kids should play a more limited number of baseball games, as well as participate in multiple sports simply to increase their joy of sports through diversity of effort.

    The common theme between the AAU basketball circuits and the baseball youth development leagues, is that within the last few decades, parents have been willing to spend big money to send their children through developmental programs designed to turn their children into prep stars in the quest for collegiate and professional careers.

    My cousin participated in the youth baseball leagues, and I remember my sister telling me just how much was out there. She and her husband decided not to send their son to all of the baseball opportunities. But, they explained to me how many games per year other kids were playing. Starting as early as 15 years old, some kids were playing the equivalent of a Major League season of baseball games, some playing nearly 200 games over the course of a single year! MLB players play 162 games in a season, plus a limited spring training. Minor league players play fewer games even if they participate in the Arizona Fall League or in one of the many Latin Leagues.

    John Smoltz is concerned that young children's bodies are not sufficiently developed in tendons to withstand the repetitive stresses involved in such long duration and persistent athletic training. He agrees that the efforts now in place to preparing expertly crafted baseball players, is responsible for many kids suffering the same kind of chronic type injuries such as those explained by these NBA executives. The professional talent developers are often making nice incomes from their work, and of itself there is nothing wrong with that. But, MLB has been working with youth baseball leagues to amend and limit duration and persistence of training.

    Parents needs to understand that kids are not adults, and there are many medical reasons to keep kids from playing the kind of grueling schedules reserved for collegiate and professional athletes. And no matter how much effort a kid puts into preparing for a professional athletic career, the truth remains that it is a lottery as these professional jobs are coveted by people all over the world now. Professional slots are literally lottery like in odds of admission. So, youth sports should be first and foremost about kids having fun, and not being turned into minor league sports stars!


  2. #2


    Agreed. Not just to a professional level though, a lot of the parents are hoping for a scholarship at the collegiate level. Although if you saved the money you spent on travel teams/ development, you could probably cover a lot of college expense anyway.

  3. #3
    Administrator Derreck's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Chocowinity, NC



    I field calls weekly wanting Mckenzie to play Softball every weekend. We dont to let her rest. Volleyball practice starts next week so she is pretty much done with softball (except for a rare weekend tournament) now. However many of her friends and teammates play on a different team nearly every weekend. One girl in particular has played for 5 different teams this year, has played every single weekend and that is not counting the two days of team practice during the week as well as the individual lessons on top of that. I have told her parents she is going to result in getting a serious injury.
    "You have to understand, I grew up a NC State fan. Every State-Carolina basketball game, football game, I've been there. It's fun, and if you like to competing and I love competing... that will be extra special."

    Coach Avent

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