Give kids two or three days a week to rest

Two parents recently brought an eight-year-old soccer player to my office for an injury. Fortunately he had a mild condition related to overuse that would resolve with some rest and some daily exercise. The parents then informed me that rest was not an option since the boyYouth soccer was supposed to play in tournaments throughout the eastern United States every weekend for the next three months.

An adult athlete’s body cannot withstand the same physical stresses day after day without rest. A growing child lacks the muscle strength of older adults and even adolescents. They need even more time to rest. Three months off from a year-round sport is critical, but kids need rest during the season too.

Daily practices and games take a toll on kids physically, and it can wear them out emotionally too. Give them a few days each week to rest their bodies. Allow them to catch up on schoolwork and spend time with friends. If your child worries about conditioning, let him lift weights or get cardiovascular exercise away from the sport.

Also read:
Keep young athletes healthy, and keep them in the game

As kids get older, their bodies will develop, and they will mature emotionally. They will be better prepared to withstand the time and physical commitments of competitive sports.

4 Responses to Give kids two or three days a week to rest

  1. Amen, David. Would it also be important (during the period of rest) to give the athlete what she needs to recuperate: healthy foods, plenty of fluids, stress free/pressure free environment, etc?

  2. Great advice. You and many others including myself as an athletic trainer “recommend” rest and yet it doesn’t happen. I have patients that are held out for injuries during the week that go and play on the weekend for club teams. Mind you these same club teams don’t just play one game over the weekend. Typically it’s several a day-baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, etc. The kids don’t ever get better and the parents are lead to believe this is what is best for their child. How can we stop this or change the thought pattern? We can talk all we want and make recommendations but who/how can we make a change? It has already gotten out of control. We need to start now before it gets worse.

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