More is not Better…Better is Better

For kids these days it’s all about specializing in one sport. Every parent out there is raising the next Brady, or Lebron, or Jeter.
Or Federer.
Or Tiger.
And so the trend of playing their sport year round has taken root.
Oh wait, they do get a week off around Christmas time.
Plain and simple, kids these days are playing one sport far too much. I know this will rub a lot of parents the wrong way, but even science agrees with me. And you cannot argue with science.
What science? How about some from the father of Tommy John Surgery – Dr. James Andrews.
In a 2013 article from (1), he describes the trend he’s seen as of late:
“I started seeing a sharp increase in youth sports injuries, particularly baseball, beginning around 2000,” Andrews told The Plain Dealer in a telephone interview. “I started tracking and researching, and what we’ve seen is a five- to sevenfold increase in injury rates in youth sports across the board. I’m trying to help these kids, given the epidemic of injuries that we’re seeing. That’s sort of my mission: to keep them on the playing field and out of the operating room.
“I hate to see the kids that we used to not see get hurt. … Now they’re coming in with adult, mature-type sports injuries. It’s a real mess. Maybe this book will help make a dent.”
Here is where CrossFit*, (also known in the general strength and conditioning field as GPP, ‘general physical preparedness) comes into play. Our program is predicated on mechanics, consistency, and then intensity. We strive for improvement in 10 areas of physical fitness:
1. Cardio Respiratory Endurance
2. Stamina
3. Speed
4. Strength
5. Power
6. Balance
7. Accuracy
8. Agility
9. Coordination
10. Flexibility

The CrossFit program is a beautiful, complimentary component to an athletes (old and young) training regimen if for no other reason than to reduce the risk of injury and develop a more balanced athlete. I wrote about it over two years ago (2).
Our program is progressive to ensure that the needs of our young (and older) athletes are taken into account. Younger athletes simply cannot handle the volume that professional athletes can.
Want to know what a day in the life of a pro athlete is like? Ask me next time you’re in – I worked with them.
(Did your coach?)
Still not convinced?
How about this photo from an article (3) tackling this same issue from a slightly different perspective (recruiting):
Some other things I found interesting are the points the author makes about developing well-rounded athletes through multi-sport discipline:
– “What football coach wouldn’t want a kid to have the balance that wrestling teaches? Or the change of direction (agility) that basketball teaches? Or the hand-eye coordination that baseball teaches? Or the competitive drive that track teaches? – What hockey coach wouldn’t want that same hand-eye coordination from baseball? Or endurance from cross country or soccer? Or ability to explode (power, strength, speed) from track? – What volleyball coach wouldn’t want the increased communication skills that basketball teaches? Or that same explosion (power, strength, speed) learned from track?”
Weird. All of the bolded terms above are found in CrossFit’s list of the 10 General Physical Skills!
The most troubling statistic from the earlier article about Dr. Andrews? Only 20% of his current operations are on professional athletes. The other 80%?
Our youth.
And here is one more quote from an article (4) from the NY Times where Dr. Andrews addressed this same issue…EIGHT years prior to the earlier one:
“They are overuse injuries pure and simple,” Dr. James Andrews, a nationally prominent sports orthopedist, said. “You get a kid on the operating table and you say to yourself, ‘It’s impossible for a 13-year-old to have this kind of wear and tear.’ We’ve got an epidemic going on.”
Apparently we didn’t learn anything then.
What will it take?
When will we learn:

More is not better.

Better is better.

References –

* = when programmed and instituted intelligently

people working out in a group fitness class


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