Over the years, I have spent a lot of time helping young, aspiring basketball players from middle school to pros, develop there skills and increase their basketball IQ . I have had the privilege of watching some of the young players develop themselves, through a lot of practice, into elite level student athletes.
Lately, I have been spending more of my time working with middle school player’s, their parents and their coaches. This may surprise you, but I spend almost as much time off the court, talking with parents and coaches about the path of development of there player.
Both parents and coaches are eager to talk with someone knowledgable, that can help them navigate the career path of these young student athletes. Here are a few of the question I hear:
- Is there such a thing as too much basketball?
- How much should a middle school player train and play?
- Should a kid play for multiple teams?
- Can kids get burned out?
- Should my kid play multiple sports?
- How much rest does a kid need?
Personally, I believe what they really want to know is: What is too much too soon? There were lots of answers that popped into my head as I pondered this question; however; I came to quickly realize that the true answer to this question will not come from me, but instead, it lies within every kid.
Youth sports is big business and the tournament business is a large source of the cash flow. There is a tournament every weekend in every city across the country. Think about it, a kid could play 12 weekends over the summer with a minimum of five games every weekend.
That is roughly 72 games in three months, which is ten games shy of a normal NBA regular season, which stretches over six months. No undeveloped kid should have to put his or her body through such a grueling schedule.
As a parent and coach of a child who has expressed a love for the game, I would not allow it. If my son keeps his grads up and does what we require him to do around the house, he can practice as much as he wants. He can play with his friends in the neighbor hood until he gets tired.
He plays travel basketball but I only allow him to play 3 tournaments local and one out of state. I let the coaches know ahead of time my schedule and we reach a mutual understanding. My son is 9
We have to get smarter about how we parent our kids and who we allow to train and coach our kids. I believe that kids should prepare and practice twice as much as they play in organized competition. The game is the reward for good preparation and practice.
There are always those exceptions but the parent shouldn’t think or make there kid the exception. Remember I said the answer lies within the player. Those special kids with a special love for the game, will cultivate there gift on there own.
With the social media and sports writers ranking players as young as the 6th grade, the push to get exposure has escalated. Until a player reaches the 10th grade the rankings really don’t matter. So why do the kids play so many games?
Parents and coaches, help develop a love for the game through teaching players how to develop there talents and skills. Keep a balance. Remember if you are paying to play you’re still an amateur and u can control how much They do!