Kellie Wilkie was recently interviewed on ABC Hobart radio about aspiring to be elite in sport, what amount of sport kids should do and injury prevention for developing athletes.
Kellie starts her segment at 1:02:30 ABC Radio Hobart
Aspiring to be an elite athlete is common in active adolescents. This is a great aim as it encourages physical activity, relationship building amongst peers and results in kids having great adult mentors. Eventually though, kids become adults and have to make an assessment about life goals including whether they peruse their sporting dreams or change their goals to focus more on occupational endeavours. Whatever the choice, aspiring to be the best form of yourself that you can be teaches you lessons along the way that contribute to you being an achiever in life.
In the pursuit of excellence, kids can often do too much sport or specialise in one sport too early in life. Research reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2015, found that kids have an increased injury risk if their organised sport hours per week were greater than their age in years. They also found that if their organised time in sport was twice as much as their unstructured activity time, such as walking to school and jumping on the trampoline, they were also at greater risk. Parents need to ensure their children are not doing too much but also that they are doing enough unorganised activity so that they are not missing valuable time to experiment with movement and do incidental exercise.
Sports Physiotherapists and Sport & Exercise Physicians are ideal practitioners to consult with if parents want evidence based advice on how much sport is too much, what is the right mix of activity and if their children are meeting minimal physical activity levels. Sport specific screenings with a Sports Physiotherapist can identify whether a young, growing body has enough flexibility, movement control and strength to participated in their main chosen sport as they start to specialise. These assessments can assist with injury prevention and performance optimisation, especially if compelted throughout the growing years or just prior to puberty.