I have a daughter who plays soccer and basketball.  She is at the age now where a decision needs to be made whether to pursue the high level competitiveness of travel teams or stick with your school athletics.

I’m worried though.

Not that she won’t make a team.  There are plenty of these travel teams out there for all different levels, so I’m sure she could make some team.

It also isn’t that she will get great instruction.  Okay this does concern me a little bit.  If I’m paying a lot of money for elite level travel teams, I expect to see a noticeable improvement in her skill level between the time she starts and the time she is finished.  But that isn’t my most pressing issue.

My biggest concern is that I will put my daughter through the rigors of trying out and hopefully making a team.  Then the multiple practices throughout the week followed by weekend after weekend of travelling to tournaments.

Thus they are treating these athletes like mini-professionals YET very little will be addressed as to reducing the chances of my daughter having a traumatic knee injury playing these sports.

I’ve talked about injuries before.  I had an interview with Dr. Pete Edwards addressing this, so I don’t want to re-hash what you have previously read about.  It just irritates me that more isn’t being done to reduce these knee injuries from happening.

Well, let me rephrase that.  More isn’t being done by these elite travel programs to provide year round strength and speed training and get these girls stronger.  Instead, it is just practice the skill, practice the skill, play, repeat throughout the whole year until these kids eventually break down.

I don’t care how good a basketball or soccer player you are creating.  Doesn’t do anyone any good if that athlete loses 6-12 months rehabbing a knee injury.

I was scouring the internet last week trying to read up on some of our athletes who are playing soccer this fall.  The local papers had their pre-season write ups.  I hadn’t gotten too far before I had counted 5 players on various teams already missing the season because of ACL injuries.  One of them was a female that had done a little work with us.

This soccer player is a high level athlete and had secured a college scholarship.  We could tell though her posterior strength was far less than what it should be.  She eventually moved on after only a few weeks with us so we didn’t have the opportunity to address this issue.  She blew her ACL out and now her senior season is gone.

There are always going to be injuries and some that you can’t prevent.  But these non-contact ACL tears, those can be greatly reduced.  And it isn’t by doing a few exercises prior to practice.  It is by incorporating a sound strength and speed program on a consistent basis that allows the athlete to get stronger and faster prepping all her muscles not just to play at a higher level, but REDUCE THE CHANCE FOR INJURIES TO HAPPEN.

Here’s what you need to do now!

Go to your club soccer coach or travel basketball coach and ask what are we doing to reduce the chances my daughter is going to blow her knee out (or in soccer also get a concussion)??  If the answer isn’t, “we will be strength training 2 or 3 times a week and doing plyometric drills that teach the athlete explosion and/or proper landing,” then hope you have some dice with you.

Why?  Because you will just be rolling the dice hoping you roll lucky sevens for your daughter’s athletic career and nothing will happen.

Your daughter could blow her knee out after having done all this preparation anyways.  One of the factors is that a lot of females are on their period when this injury occurs.  We can’t control that, but the other factors can be addressed.

I could also die of lung cancer even though I don’t smoke, but I’m not going to increase my chances by smoking anyways.  Get these girls working out, lifting weights, and learning proper movement patterns so the odds of this injury go down.  There running these girls into the ground with all their playing, they need this extra work.

If they are going to treat them like professionals, then get them on a professional type strength/speed program.  I’m not taking the chance with my daughter.  Will you with yours?