Intense training is a necessary part of a child athlete reaching elite levels, but too much of anything can be a problem. Overtraining can harm your child's body and reduce their future academic potential, so it's crucial that you avoid it. Here are 3 ways to prevent overtraining in your child's athlete.
Look Out for Early Signs
Your child's body will show signs of overtraining before things reach the point of no return, so look out for early symptoms of overtraining at all times. Children who are overtraining will often be tired, can struggle to concentrate, and may have difficulty sleeping. Another common sign is low mood, including depression, anxiety, irritability, and low self-esteem or lack of confidence in their sporting abilities. Children who are pushing themselves too far can also suffer physically. Some physical issues you might notice are declining appetite and weight loss, nausea, breathing difficulties, and general low immune system. Aside from these signs, one of the most common symptoms of overtraining in children is pain without direct injury. The pain usually comes on gradually, feels more like an ache than a sharp pain, and lasts for long periods. It can also be accompanied by stiffness and swelling. If you see any of these signs, your child needs to rework their training regime and seek medical advice.
Reduce and Diversify Training
Many parents of child athletes are familiar with the '10,000 rule', which states that it's necessary to put 10,000 hours into a sport to reach elite levels. As a result, many parents push their child to train harder and longer than they should. However, this rule has been debunked many times by various professionals. All children develop their talent at different rates, and pushing your child too hard could have devastating consequences for their health. In reality, it's best to keep your child's weekly training hours to a manageable number if you want them to succeed in their sport. You should also encourage your child to spend a few months a year on other sports that work on different parts of the body. Aside from giving overworked parts of your child's body time to recover, this will also give them new skills and muscle development that they can apply to their core sport.
Visit a Physiotherapist
A sports physiotherapist will be invaluable to any child athlete, especially one who is at risk of overtraining. Sports physiotherapists are trained to help athletes of all ages keep their bodies healthy, fit and pain-free. A physiotherapist can develop a strength and conditioning regime for your child and help them through it, building up muscle power, cardiovascular capacity and bone health so you child can train harder without overtraining. They can also spot signs of overtraining early and treat them with various physio techniques, including manual therapy and sports massage.