Mixing Up Training & Competition

You've probably already experienced the frustration of hitting a plateau in your training routine. There's a similar correlation going on with young athletes specializing in a single sport year round. It's not that they won't keep getting better at their game of choice. According to Loyola University Health System research, they put themselves at greater risk of injury.

An analysis of 519 junior players at 3,366 United States Tennis Association matches found that young athletes who specialized only in tennis were 5 times more likely to withdraw from a tournament for medical reasons. Older teenagers were more likely than younger competitors to leave a tournament due to injury, showing how constant work in one area takes a toll over the years.

The Bigger Picture: On average, tennis players start playing at 6 years old and focus exclusively on this single sport by age 10. They typically practice 16 to 20 hours a week and compete at least 10 months out of every year. Dividing their physical effort between tennis and another sport can help keep these kids healthy and competing, much as changing up your workout routine can help put you on track to realizing greater gains.
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