Preventing Injuries and Burnout
Taking a break from a sport not only prevents debilitating overuse injuries, but also helps prevent burnout.
“We recommend having at least one day off a week from their particular sports- that’s to allow both their body and their mind to heal,” says Brenner, who is the primary author of the AAP clinical report on overuse injuries.
The AAP also suggests taking at least one or two months off from a specific sport each year, which can be broken up into smaller periods of time throughout the year. Kids who play on multiple teams in one season or play weekend multi-game tournaments are at a much higher risk of overuse injuries and burnout.
Sport medicine experts recommend following the 10-percent rule to reduce the chance of injury. Athletes should not increase their training time, total distance, or number of repetitions more than 10 percent each week. Gradual increases allow the body to become conditioned and adapt to the higher workload.
“We want kids to be learning lifelong physical activity skills, so when they’re out of high school, out of college, they can continue to participate in recreational sports,” says Brenner. “And that should be the ultimate goal.”