About a year ago Dr. James Andrews, famous orthopedic surgeon to the pros, was quoted as saying young athletes need rest. In summary he says that the rise in youth athletic injuries is due to the year-round sports and training that is occurring at an earlier age. He specifically mentions baseball as a big culprit of this. I would even broaden this to sports such as softball, softball, and basketball. Club and AAU sports have become more and more influential and are seen as the only way to make it to the next level. I feel much of this play all year mentality comes from the club/AAU coaches. I once heard that a young male baseball player played upwards of 162 games one summer…that is the equivalent of a Major League Baseball season. Look at an MLB injured reserve, even the developed and well conditioned bodies of adults cannot sustain that level of volume without some sort of injury.
I think we as a sports culture need to take a step back and re-evaluate the “right” way to make it to the next level. I would recommend to these young athletes, take some time off. Let your body heal from your grueling high school season or club season. I have always been under the impression, if you are good enough, college coaches will find you but if you’re hurt, they’ll never see you play. Now taking time off does not necessarily mean you completely stop training, it means taking a step back, lowering your volume and working on the fundamentals. I think practice and conditioning the body are just as important as playing, but the fundamentals are the foundation to playing great. So athletes, coaches, and parents slow things down for a bit, work on the little things and let your daughter/son/athlete rest. They will be better for it in the long run.