The latest consensus in the debate about kids playing multiple sports seems to be trending toward it being a good idea.
It’s quite common to see young athletes – especially at the middle and high school ages – playing more than one sport in the same season. They play a school sport after school and rush to their club practice at night.
We are not going to add to the debate here and contribute our opinions on whether it is good or bad, right or wrong. Instead, we want to talk about the inevitable consequences – issues arising from overuse.
Stress, fatigue, soreness, burn-out, and injuries are more likely when young athletes are involved with multiple sports.
Craig Von Wielligh is the Director of Sports Performance at Global Premier Soccer, a youth soccer organization in 14 states. He is also the head coach of an elite 2002 girls team. Von Wielligh is very familiar with overuse in young athletes.
“Part of my job is to manage and monitor player loads, not only through club soccer but with the high-school age players,” he says. “I monitor what they do in all the different sports they play.”
Von Wielligh uses DRIVN’s trackers to monitor how players are feeling and subsequently how they are performing. Then he uses the app’s communication features to help manage the factors that affect their performances both negatively and positively.
“Players complete a wellness questionnaire every day asking about sleep, stress level at school and in their social life, fatigue and soreness. We use those elements to get an idea where players are at and at what level they are training every day and how they fluctuate at different parts of the year.
“We use the data to be able to track and see where there is a concern. If they aren’t sleeping well or their stress level is higher, they find the training sessions more difficult.”
Von Wielligh has found DRIVN to be a valuable tool in collecting, charting, storing and communicating key information. But he has also discovered that DRIVN is playing a key role in educating players about how to take care of themselves
“I’ve found it to be valuable in a sort of self-empowerment way,” he says. “It educates them to what they need to be doing for themselves. There comes a point where they need to learn what they need to do and what to look for in terms of managing their load.
“They understand that if they are constantly sore, tired or stressed, they are a breakdown waiting to happen.”
Using DRIVN, Von Wielligh says, is far more efficient than the method he used previously.
“I have always been interested in finding ways to treat the players as individuals within the team environment,” he says. And now, he can.