This form of overuse seems to be more common than many people might think. Youth baseball has been the sport most often associated with this problem. A gifted pitcher might play for his recreational league team during the week and compete for an elite travel team on the weekends. I have seen youth and high school athletes in many sports – swimming, soccer, basketball and others – play for more than one team in a season.
For many of the same reasons I offer regarding showcase events, playing on multiple teams in the same season can increase your risk of injury. Your body is exhausted from daily practices and competitions. You need rest days, not games for other teams. You might take on even more stress than you would with showcases since you endure these extra demands over a long season.
Keep young athletes healthy, and keep them in the game
What could explain the drop in youth sports participation?
Unrelated to its injury risk, playing for more than one team affects the other players. I hear the frustration of many young athletes who complain that they practice with their school teams every day only to lose their starting positions in games or tournaments to players who practice with their elite or travel teams all week.
Pick the team that is most important to you each season, and play only for that team. Don’t let your kids play for more than one team in any season.