For the adolescent athletes and their parents out there, here are a few things to keep in mind as you start training for the season!
It is important to firstly listen to your body and what it is capable of, and secondly for all parents with adolescent children to be mindful that they are still growing and that their bodies are not able to perform to an adult standard, without dire consequences.
Recently our team members went to a symposium on adolescents in sport and had the pleasure of listening to Alex Kountouris, who is currently the sports medicine manager at Cricket Australia. He explained to us what effect overloading adolescents in sport can have on their bodies, based on the most current and up to date research.
It was emphasised that bone swelling commonly occurs in the pre-season, due to excessive loading through the low back with repetitive training when no rest days or breaks are taken. The swelling is also most likely to occur in the first two months after return to a particular sport. When bone swelling does occur it can take up to 100 days to resolve in adolescents. Which can often be in the beginning to the middle on the sport season when players are hoping to be performing at their best.
Factors that are said to decrease chances of bone swelling occurring include;
- Taking a break between training days. It is imperative that there is a two day break between intensive bowling training sessions
- Shorter pre-season time
When comparing adults and adolescents, it takes 2-3 years of loading in adults to cause bone swelling, in comparison to adolescents who can develop the same symptoms within 2-3 months. This is due to the fact that hormonal changes affect the bone material content in adolescents. Having break days between training sessions allows for the cells that make up the bone to work, therefore preventing any micro fractures from occurring
According to Cricket Australia the following recommendations should be followed to achieve the best possible outcome with regards to building strength and decrease the risk of injury in adolescents.
- There should be a pre-season of approximately 14 weeks
- 2 day breaks between bowling days should be taken
- A 2-3 week bowling rest period in the middle of the pre-season is advised.
- If a training session is missed it must be made up for bowling more balls on other training days. Not doing this will result in a risk of stress fractures through the spine due to weakness.
Although this research is directly related to Cricket, the advice should be applied to all other sports that require repetitive movements or actions.
It is good to remember that rest and moderation is necessary in any sport, especially when you are still a growing teenager. Most importantly remember to have fun when playing sport!!