Basketball players are broken down before they get to college (article)



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We're seeing more and more of this at UConn even, with kids like Larrier, Gilbert, Diarra coming in with plenty of miles on their treads. I know it's not smart to generalize since many injuries have nothing to do with wear and tear, but knees, hips, shoulders and backs are indeed areas where there are a lot of problems from too much training and play.

We're battling this in my household where my child was simultaneously playing DA (US development academy) soccer, ODP (Olympic Development) soccer, and, depending on the season, her school soccer, basketball and softball teams. She was also doing strength and speed training once a week. It all came to a head in March when she had 4 consecutive weekends of soccer tournaments, and on Fridays she went skiing with her friends from 3 pm until 11 pm.

Don't know what we were thinking, but her body just broke down. Back problems. By mid April we pulled her out of sports. Totally. And now that she's improved, I am only allowing her to go to strength training this summer. And never again is she going to play multiple sports at the same time, and I'm telling her coaches that if they go overboard on tournaments again, she simply will not show up. The only thing I can't really do anything about is the skiing--but that's another story.
 
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Overuse, early specialization, athletes getting bigger and faster. Quite a few coaches through hs don't even do a dynamic warm up before games. Too bad really. Kids are the ones paying for all of it
 
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Unfortunately, youth sports has become a business/career for adults which is why kids specialize at early ages as the adults push it to make money. A paid coach is not going to make a living if he/she tells the kids to limit seasons to 4 to 5 months and play other sports even if it is in the kids best interest.

I agree with the ESPN article, but they left out an important piece: mental burnout from playing the same sport all of the time.
 

Doctor Hoop

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We're seeing more and more of this at UConn even, with kids like Larrier, Gilbert, Diarra coming in with plenty of miles on their treads. I know it's not smart to generalize since many injuries have nothing to do with wear and tear, but knees, hips, shoulders and backs are indeed areas where there are a lot of problems from too much training and play.

We're battling this in my household where my child was simultaneously playing DA (US development academy) soccer, ODP (Olympic Development) soccer, and, depending on the season, her school soccer, basketball and softball teams. She was also doing strength and speed training once a week. It all came to a head in March when she had 4 consecutive weekends of soccer tournaments, and on Fridays she went skiing with her friends from 3 pm until 11 pm.

Don't know what we were thinking, but her body just broke down. Back problems. By mid April we pulled her out of sports. Totally. And now that she's improved, I am only allowing her to go to strength training this summer. And never again is she going to play multiple sports at the same time, and I'm telling her coaches that if they go overboard on tournaments again, she simply will not show up. The only thing I can't really do anything about is the skiing--but that's another story.
Kids need time off. They should be doing their sport no more than 9 or 10 months, then eight to 12 weeks of lighter activity and lower intensity strength training and work on core and flexibility. And there are a number of studies showing detrimental effects for early sport specialization.

I attended an injuries in baseball course in NY last year, and there is a huge increase in injuries in HS players comparing over the years. You’re taking the right approach with your kid. Good luck to her.
 
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Kids need time off. They should be doing their sport no more than 9 or 10 months, then eight to 12 weeks of lighter activity and lower intensity strength training and work on core and flexibility. And there are a number of studies showing detrimental effects for early sport specialization.

I attended an injuries in baseball course in NY last year, and there is a huge increase in injuries in HS players comparing over the years. You’re taking the right approach with your kid. Good luck to her.
What do they attribute the rise in sports injuries to? Multiple factors/one in particular?
 
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What do they attribute the rise in sports injuries to? Multiple factors/one in particular?
Mostly early specialization in basketball with so much attention paid to gaining explosive athleticism that hips, knees and ankles are weak and have horrible flexibility.

I'm 34 and my hips and knees are shot. My mobility sucks and while I exercise regularly and look like I'm in great shape, I struggle with basic movements. I attribute this to working so hard on my game when I was a teen. And I wasn't pushed to do this by my parents, i just loved basketball so much and wanted to get as good as I possibly could....but some of that wasn't smart for the body. Too much Plyometrics, hours spent trying to dunk, working out with flawed form and never stretching as much as I should have, not to mention playing on a rubber court in college with concrete under it are the causes imo. As a kid I played a bunch of other sports though, which I believed helped with injury prevention as I never really had a serious injury, but the wearing down came years later.

You can actually see the stiffness this with aau kids when they are walking around in their sandals between games. A lot of these kids walk like they are 80 years old and they are only teenagers. And then in warm-ups they can throw down a windmill.
 

Doctor Hoop

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What do they attribute the rise in sports injuries to? Multiple factors/one in particular?
There was a big emphasis on several things, one being the ubiquitous radar gun for pitchers, increasing elbow and shoulder stresses in athletes not yet fully developed. Enter Tommy John. Also training with weighted balls was frowned upon. And they pointed out that in the MLB draft more multi-sport athletes are drafted than single sport athletes, something you might not guess.
 
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There was a big emphasis on several things, one being the ubiquitous radar gun for pitchers, increasing elbow and shoulder stresses in athletes not yet fully developed. Enter Tommy John. Also training with weighted balls was frowned upon. And they pointed out that in the MLB draft more multi-sport athletes are drafted than single sport athletes, something you might not guess.
Hmm.. so the stressors for bball are probably general overuse and looking for another inch on the max vert.. over jumping.

How do you feel about strength training (with professionals) at a young age. I have A LOT of players start around 12. I continually stress that your older brother is not a professional. Get a CSCS or SCSC to get you a program. Because honestly, I don't think many personal trainers know what they're doing either.

Person close to me isba DPT and seems to think early strength training is fine when done well and for more general athleticism, rather than sport specific

Appreciate having a doc on the board. Orthopedic, right?
 
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Hmm.. so the stressors for bball are probably general overuse and looking for another inch on the max vert.. over jumping.

How do you feel about strength training (with professionals) at a young age. I have A LOT of players start around 12. I continually stress that your older brother is not a professional. Get a CSCS or SCSC to get you a program. Because honestly, I don't think many personal trainers know what they're doing either.

Person close to me isba DPT and seems to think early strength training is fine when done well and for more general athleticism, rather than sport specific

Appreciate having a doc on the board. Orthopedic, right?
Our experience with the people we know and trust is that they are often more knowledgeable than people that do PT. Our people work with top pro athletes as well. They all have exercise science and nutrition degrees, and they know their stuff.

I recently saw an NHL player come into the training space, and he was coming back from injury. He couldn't do a basic exercise. He was on a stability disc, and he couldn't bend over with one leg off the ground to place a 10 pound weight gently on the ground.

I am over 50 and now have several problems (associated with too much cycling! and maybe too much rugby) and I tried the same exercise at home and it was easy.

It is really shocking to see how stiff some of these top athletes are.

Marcel Dareus was in last week when I took my daughter. Oh boy!!

I agree with you that you have to have knowledgeable people who are very concerned about the person's overall form. We tried a center affiliated with the Pegulas and the Sabres first and even with individual training, there was not near enough the concern for the body that our current place is showing.
 
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Our experience with the people we know and trust is that they are often more knowledgeable than people that do PT. Our people work with top pro athletes as well. They all have exercise science and nutrition degrees, and they know their stuff.

I recently saw an NHL player come into the training space, and he was coming back from injury. He couldn't do a basic exercise. He was on a stability disc, and he couldn't bend over with one leg off the ground to place a 10 pound weight gently on the ground.

I am over 50 and now have several problems (associated with too much cycling! and maybe too much rugby) and I tried the same exercise at home and it was easy.

It is really shocking to see how stiff some of these top athletes are.

Marcel Dareus was in last week when I took my daughter. Oh boy!!

I agree with you that you have to have knowledgeable people who are very concerned about the person's overall form. We tried a center affiliated with the Pegulas and the Sabres first and even with individual training, there was not near enough the concern for the body that our current place is showing.
I have heard personal trainers with such deep levels of ignorance it might shock you.

- he only bench presses and squats. No other lifts needed
- yoga is the only exercise you need
- a complete ignorance of flexion, extension etc. In core workouts
- people getting hurt because they don't train form.
-

I am not great with this stuff. I think I'm alright at spotting someone knowledgable to help my players. But I know to defer unlike some people.

My DPT/CSCS works with athletes almost exclusively. Half her job is undoing the stupid training people have done in the past.
 
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I have heard personal trainers with such deep levels of ignorance it might shock you.

- he only bench presses and squats. No other lifts needed
- yoga is the only exercise you need
- a complete ignorance of flexion, extension etc. In core workouts
- people getting hurt because they don't train form.
-

I am not great with this stuff. I think I'm alright at spotting someone knowledgable to help my players. But I know to defer unlike some people.

My DPT/CSCS works with athletes almost exclusively. Half her job is undoing the stupid training people have done in the past.
I should have emphasized that I was referring to our trainers relative to some of the people we saw who were recommended for PT. I believe this is a rarity.
 

nelsonmuntz

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Basketball is probably the least intensive of any major sport at the youth level. Summer and fall AAU is limited with low participation. Winter is typically town travel with a few of the top kids playing AAU, and then spring is AAU.

Soccer is year round and lacrosse, baseball and softball start in March and end in October. Many of the top soccer, baseball and softball teams only give spots to those willing to make multi-season commitments.

Football participation has dropped off a cliff in Connecticut, so I am not as familiar with it.
 
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Basketball is probably the least intensive of any major sport at the youth level. Summer and fall AAU is limited with low participation. Winter is typically town travel with a few of the top kids playing AAU, and then spring is AAU.

Soccer is year round and lacrosse, baseball and softball start in March and end in October. Many of the top soccer, baseball and softball teams only give spots to those willing to make multi-season commitments.

Football participation has dropped off a cliff in Connecticut, so I am not as familiar with it.
Good high school football programs are year round, but actual contact is only August-December. But summer 7 on 7 leagues are popular and most programs have year round weight lifting and agility training either before or after school
 
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Basketball is probably the least intensive of any major sport at the youth level. Summer and fall AAU is limited with low participation. Winter is typically town travel with a few of the top kids playing AAU, and then spring is AAU.

Soccer is year round and lacrosse, baseball and softball start in March and end in October. Many of the top soccer, baseball and softball teams only give spots to those willing to make multi-season commitments.

Football participation has dropped off a cliff in Connecticut, so I am not as familiar with it.
I don't think you're on base here, or haven't been around high-level youth basketball. There is more commitment for baseball/soccer players that aren't very good compared to basketball players that aren't very good. Everyone and there 3rd cousin is "elite" in soccer. There's ALOT of bad aau bball, too much bad aau bball, but the time commitments are pretty minimal compared to medicre soccer.

There is less infrastructure for basketball at the lower levels comapred to baseball and soccer. Probably part of the reason euros are taking up spots in the league, and probably part of what you're inaccurately observing (imho of course)

I also think it partly has to do with the populations that pay for the sports. Soccer families have more $$$ floating around. Basketball is AAU, school, some camps, lifting, and a stupid amount of time in the gym playing pick up and working on your own. A lot more individual work for motivated players.

Good players for me in the spring are playing 4-6 games a weekend. Practicing 4-6 hours. Lifting 2-3x a week. Playing pick up after school for hours (and not keeping their god forsaken grades up), and have shooting/ballhandling workouts I require them to do (200 made shots, 20 mins ballhandling in a week).

Winter and summer are just as bad. Fall I would say is the "down time" just lifting and fall leagues for fun.

In short... youth sports suck and I'm part of the problem haha. To be fair I encourage the kids to lay off in-season lifting, pick up bball, and want them to play multiple sportsm
 

nelsonmuntz

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I don't think you're on base here, or haven't been around high-level youth basketball. There is more commitment for baseball/soccer players that aren't very good compared to basketball players that aren't very good. Everyone and there 3rd cousin is "elite" in soccer. There's ALOT of bad aau bball, too much bad aau bball, but the time commitments are pretty minimal compared to medicre soccer.

There is less infrastructure for basketball at the lower levels comapred to baseball and soccer. Probably part of the reason euros are taking up spots in the league, and probably part of what you're inaccurately observing (imho of course)

I also think it partly has to do with the populations that pay for the sports. Soccer families have more $$$ floating around. Basketball is AAU, school, some camps, lifting, and a stupid amount of time in the gym playing pick up and working on your own. A lot more individual work for motivated players.

Good players for me in the spring are playing 4-6 games a weekend. Practicing 4-6 hours. Lifting 2-3x a week. Playing pick up after school for hours (and not keeping their god forsaken grades up), and have shooting/ballhandling workouts I require them to do (200 made shots, 20 mins ballhandling in a week).

Winter and summer are just as bad. Fall I would say is the "down time" just lifting and fall leagues for fun.

In short... youth sports suck and I'm part of the problem haha. To be fair I encourage the kids to lay off in-season lifting, pick up bball, and want them to play multiple sportsm
I know a little about youth basketball.

It is very trendy to say that everyone that isn't getting multiple high D1 offers shouldn't bother playing youth sports like AAU or club soccer or whatever. I think that is a narrow minded approach and reflects the coaches' motivations more than the players'. Success for these kids can mean many different things. I have a lot of respect for the kid that maybe isn't as athletic or big and has to bust his or her butt to just get on the court. Maybe that kid is just trying to separate him or her from the pack when they apply to Amherst or Williams, and is not gunning for a P6 scholarship. Some of these kids know that their last high school game is the last time they will ever wear a uniform, and they just want to squeeze every ounce out of that experience.

Also, size matters in basketball. I know plenty of kids that were unguardable in 6th grade at 5' tall that are very guardable in 10th grade at 5'8. There is no crystal ball for how tall a kid is going to be, and I think most youth basketball coaches bet wrong on height more often than they bet right. Sometimes you just have to eat it on an uncoordinated kid and leave him on the end of the bench for a couple of years because mom is 5'11 and dad is 6'5 and you know the kid is going to be a monster some day. Or you could do what 90% of youth travel and AAU coaches do and cut the big dorky kid while keeping the medium sized generic athlete because he is slightly better in 6th or 7th grade.

I assume you are talking about high school kids when you say you have them lift weights.

My main point holds. Basketball requires less commitment at the youth level than any other major sport.
 
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olehead

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I came out mid to late 80's and I played AAU from April through August, squeezing camp and high school summer league games in between AAU season. By my freshman year of college, I'd noticed some loss of explosion and I spent quite a bit of time in the training room caring for slowly eroding knees.
 
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Read Just Let the Kids Play: How to Stop Other Adults from Ruining Your Child's Fun and Success in Youth Sports by former Celtic, Bob Bigelow
 
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Hmm.. so the stressors for bball are probably general overuse and looking for another inch on the max vert.. over jumping.

How do you feel about strength training (with professionals) at a young age. I have A LOT of players start around 12. I continually stress that your older brother is not a professional. Get a CSCS or SCSC to get you a program. Because honestly, I don't think many personal trainers know what they're doing either.

Person close to me isba DPT and seems to think early strength training is fine when done well and for more general athleticism, rather than sport specific

Appreciate having a doc on the board. Orthopedic, right?
In my opinion the literature for basketball is the same as baseball...same sport specialization. There are a few studies looking at NCAA athletes and a retrospective review of the ones that have more injuries show a common trend—by high school they are only focusing on one sport.

The data on strength training is not as clear because of the wide variety of “philosophies” you mentioned in your other post. It’s hard to find a study that says “strength training is detrimental before a certain age” because are we talking about body weight/core/flexibility or Olympic lifts at the age of 12?

My personal opinion for parents/kids all centers on variety. I explain that majority of the most successful ncaa athletes who get scholarships or make it professional are two sometimes 3 sport athletes through high school. So similarly, if they want to strength train it is ok as long as its part of a multi sport program that allows for periods of rest.
 
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As far as I know they're not olympic lifting at that age. Closest thing is probably squats and deadlifts. I think my average athlete is probably started in 8th grade with an older sibling or the HS team going into freshman year.

I know most are doing really basic stuff. Curls, bench press, rows.. that basic kind of uninformed arm day/back day/chest day stuff. They usually avoid agility work and anything other than basic running conditioning bc of space at the gym.

I push the kids to good trainers, and try to get them to do a hip hinge/squat rotation with some explosive basic agility if I can.

A LOT of my kids follow p3 and PJF on insta. I'm hoping that gives them the hint the
In my opinion the literature for basketball is the same as baseball...same sport specialization. There are a few studies looking at NCAA athletes and a retrospective review of the ones that have more injuries show a common trend—by high school they are only focusing on one sport.

The data on strength training is not as clear because of the wide variety of “philosophies” you mentioned in your other post. It’s hard to find a study that says “strength training is detrimental before a certain age” because are we talking about body weight/core/flexibility or Olympic lifts at the age of 12?

My personal opinion for parents/kids all centers on variety. I explain that majority of the most successful ncaa athletes who get scholarships or make it professional are two sometimes 3 sport athletes through high school. So similarly, if they want to strength train it is ok as long as its part of a multi sport program that allows for periods of rest.
 

HuskyHawk

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Aside from all of this, my anecdotal observation of friends with kids who are heavy into sports, is that it robs both them and the family of time. Friends of ours recently traveled for a travel softball league game scheduled on July 4. That's just total BS. There is no need for that. All of these youth sports need to reduce the practice time, reduce the game scheduling and ensure that kids and families have time to go to the beach and do normal things. This stuff is all consuming.

And while multi-sports may be good physically for balance, you are adding to the pounding the kid takes and again reducing the downtime. When do they read a book? Daughter's friend across the street was basketball and soccer, and finally gave up soccer after her 4th or 5th concussion last year. She just finished 10th grade.
 

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soccer is the worst example of this - clubs demand the kid doesn't do other sports and focus entirely on soccer. My kids have to sneak around when they've wanted to try other things, it's ridiculous. I really hate youth soccer in the US
 
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soccer is the worst example of this - clubs demand the kid doesn't do other sports and focus entirely on soccer. My kids have to sneak around when they've wanted to try other things, it's ridiculous. I really hate youth soccer in the US
And the crazy this is a lot of these kids aren't even that good.

If you're going to be getting a college scholarship... okay, kind of makes sense in the long run, even if it is a pain. Little Jimmy who is going to play through HS and nothing else? Come on.
 
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Basketball is probably the least intensive of any major sport at the youth level.
Basketball is a bit unique, in my experience.

I was fortunate enough to play basketball in college (and everything before: HS, AAU, travel, etc.) and my back was a disaster by the time I was 20. I didn't finish my college career because of it. In hindsight, I'm convinced the biggest problem wasn't all of the organized ball; it was the countless hours of pickup at parks May-Oct. Concrete/asphalt/whatever is absolutely horrible for your body if you're running and jumping. Your knees and your back, your ankles too. I gave up playing outside by the time I was 25. I tried playing once in my 30s and stopped after the first game.

So in HS, during the off-season, we'd have one or two weeknight practices for AAU (assuming it was that time of the year), games on the weekends, and then the other days we'd be at the park for 3+ hours. Ball was life. If AAU wasn't in-season and it wasn't warm enough outside we'd be at a local rec center almost every night. That's something that other sports don't have. You can't find quality pickup soccer, baseball, or football games at any time like you can with basketball. You may not be involved in the organized, crazy aspect of the youth development/showcase scene on those days but you are still putting a ton miles on your body. Hell, some days at the park playing 3-4 hours was more intensive than any AAU practice I ever participated in.
 

nelsonmuntz

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soccer is the worst example of this - clubs demand the kid doesn't do other sports and focus entirely on soccer. My kids have to sneak around when they've wanted to try other things, it's ridiculous. I really hate youth soccer in the US
Soccer is like a cult. I lost one of my best players to it because the program demanded every player play winter soccer or they would lose their spot on the team.
 

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