Kids playing too much basketball?

You can probably remove the question mark. AAU, high school, kids aren’t playing baseball in the summer and football in the fall, it’s all hoops all the time. And their bodies can’t handle it. NBA rookies are getting overuse injuries that used to show up in 10-year veterans.

I don’t know how you fix it, as long as you have kids and parents hyperfocused on getting those offers and then getting to The Show.

Two part series at

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This part includes a description of an ACL reconstruction on a 9-year-old basketball player. NINE.

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The same thing is happening in baseball. Pitchers are hurt constantly, they pitch 5-6 innings on a good start. They are old before their time. Analytics apparently prove this because in today’s free agent market, age is a much bigger factor than a few years ago. Playing baseball most all year long is tough on the body, particularly the arm for a pitcher. By the time these prospects are 20, they have thrown enough for their arms and shoulders to be much older and more toward the end of their effectiveness.

Playing two or three sports as a young person should actually help extend a career of a player when you consider the idea of a body only having so many throws or so many jumps or strides in it. It makes a lot of sense to me. When was the last pitcher who pitched 20+ years like Nolan Ryan and was seldom hurt or seldom had arm trouble? Max Scherzer comes to mind and then nobody else. I am sure there are a few, but not many.

It is a huge problem that needs to be addressed. A relative of mine had a son who was a very good athlete. He started playing year round travel team baseball at a very early age. By the time he reached high school rotator cuff was shot and he never even played high school baseball. My daughter played high level club soccer in St. Louis and was nearly buurned out by the time she reached high school. She gave up club soccer at 15 and still was a 3 year starter and all conference midfielder in high school. The kicker was that she did so well academically, that she got more scholarship money than most of her former soccer teammates did for playing soccer in college.

I believe it is true without a doubt,
Why I prefer multi sport. There is some short breaks in between not much but there is a transition period for the body. Not such a repetitive motion & same strain on the same muscles so much.
I believe the main thing is kids do not take any or enough breaks playing the same sport year round (mostly basketball and baseball). Bodies are still filling out and need that recovery or healing time. I would say knees and shoulders absorb the brunt of the wear and tear. IMO. But I’m not a Dr.

How about weight lifting in elementary school? I’ve heard Chad Morris talk about having to debate whether or not a high school prospect is fully developed or still in that bottom end of development. Could a player from a rural area of Arkansas (or even Texas) that does not have great weight training or just plays every sport have a greater upside than one that was in weight training and just football by 7th grade? You better know someone at the school who can tell you what the upside is and be truthful. That’s the difference between a three star (like Trey Flowers) and a 4-star that might have already peaked. And, you better be able to determine heart. Some have it. Some don’t. Anyone recall Fred Bledsoe? Or, on the flip side, Earl Scott?

In the community I coach baseball there will be at most 125 boys per age level. Our travel ball dads our selecting “The Team” which will consist of at most 12 boys at the 9 year old age level and thus the majority of the other boys drop out of the program because they see little opportunity to play in the future. Over the past 5-8 years we struggled to have 5-6 boys per class remaining in the program per class at the soph/junior/senior level. This season we had 38 boys participating from grade levels 8-12. The entire youth sports scene is out of control. Arm and shoulder over use has become a significant issue with those kids that have come through the travel ball program. I had a player who at the age of 11 threw 25 straight curve balls that were called by his travel ball coach. The kid walked off the diamond and went to the family car for the rest of the day. The coach did not allow him to play the next weekend. Youth sports are out of control.

I was a youth pitcher but my dad (who coached us a lot) refused to let me throw curve balls. Didn’t like that I learned how to throw it a couple of ways and the screw ball (we called it) which was the side arm curve breaking the other way (almost a slider) I guess. Only after I was in Babe Ruth & American Legion we started throwing any breaking pitches. Had one really good coach who taught different finger placement on the seams to let our fastballs get more natural movement. He always said you’ll thank me later.
But today these kids are throwing everything at a very young age.

… and having Tommy John surgery earlier and more often.


The leagues should probably start enforcing some sort of pitch count limit or innings limit on the pitchers for youth leagues.

I first noticed the trend back in the long ago days when I was in high school. We got a new basketball coach who put pressure on the basketball players to not play football, wanted them to concentrate on basketball year around. Maybe by high school that is a good thing, but I sure thought it resulted in a less physical basketball team.

Again, I am talking about much older kids going to one sport only, so maybe by Jr. High or High School it is OK. But I didn’t like it.

Gotta be along the same lines as teaching young baseball pitchers to throw curve balls. It’s a motion that will damage the arm/shoulder at an age when it’s never developed properly.

Am I reading too far into this?

The solution is easy. Don’t play. You can’t control what others do.

Business is business and if you get outworked, or you fall down, then you’re left behind. That’s life. choose a profession that allows you to be lazy if you don’t want to have to put in the work all day.