We’ve all read the stories and statistics about the rise of youth sports injuries. Every parent should take common sense actions such as encouraging athletes not to “play through the pain” and closely monitoring baseball pitch counts. And all reputable coaches and sports organizations focus on athletes’ long-term health over the short-term gain of a win. But there also are preventative actions we can take to reduce the risk of injury.

Increase strength and balance
Many youth athletes lack the strength, stability or endurance to perform all that is being asked of them. If an athlete is straining to perform a specific task, especially repeatedly, the risk of injury increases.

Sports performance has exploded over the last few years at all levels of play, in part due to its role in injury prevention. While it does improve athletic performance, a key benefit of sports performance training goes beyond increased speed and movement to helping keep athletes healthy. Increasing core strength, muscle strength around critical joints and improved balance all help to reduce overuse injuries and as well as traumatic injuries. Working under the close supervision of a qualified trainer can help athletes of all sports improve strength and balance with the goal of staying healthy.

Ensure correct form
As athletes progress and move to a new age division, or a more elite level of competition, it is critical they receive appropriate instruction on HOW to perform each action mechanically.

The unfortunate reality is that many successful youth athletes have mechanics that can cause long-term issues. In a recent conversation, a college softball pitching coach shared his most athletic pitcher has chronic injury issues due in part to her poor form. She has won many games but at a price.

If your child is going to play a more intense schedule than a recreational league, it would be wise to consider working with an expert even on a limited basis. It is helpful to evaluate your child’s form to look for any potential issues. This doesn’t necessarily require a frequent or long-term commitment but can be helpful especially after moving to a more competitive level of play or after a growth spurt.

In addition to helping athletes improve their game, 5 Tool offers a well-qualified sports performance trainer with classes on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 4 p.m. Additional baseball and softball experts are available to ensure an athlete’s form is correct. Contact us at 765.759.9310 or info@5tool.net to learn more.

While we can’t stop every accident or injury on the field, taking some preventative steps during the off-season certainly can reduce the risk.