April is Youth Sports Safety Month and Youth1 is dedicated to giving parents and players insightful information.
Youth1 spoke with Daryl Hennings, the head coach of the nationally successful Seattle Rotary basketball program.
Throughout the years, Hennings has coached the best of the best in Seattle such as Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Marvin Williams, Rodney Stuckey, Aaron Brooks and Zach LaVine.
“Our basketball program is under a huge umbrella within the Boys and Girls Club,” Hennings said. “So a lot of what we do is centered around making sure the kids are safe and understand about their bodies as far as athletics is concerned.”
Hennings shared his thoughts on youth sports safety and how to keep players as healthy as possible on the court.
Don’t overwork them
“Even though I’m a basketball advocate and a basketball guy, right now kids are playing a little too much basketball. I think that’s why we’re seeing a lot of knee injuries early because people are putting so much time and effort into it. Now, it’s making them better basketball players but in the long run it’s creating a lot of problems for a lot of kids. A lot of that has to do with the lack of preventive maintenance and over-usage.”
Create a fair schedule
“We keep it to two practices a week for an hour and a half for each practice. Usually our players go and train with our staff or they go and train at other places but my suggestion, I don’t make it mandatory, but my suggestion is to train no more than twice a week. Some of them follow that guideline, some of them don’t. As far as games are concerned we play in no more than one tournament a month. Most of our guys play on our team and on a school team. So they’re getting our two practices a week, their two training sessions, their school practices and games, plus God forbid if they play another sport. Kids are really over-scheduled right now. So I’m accepting and I try to limit them with what I can that’s in my control.”
The importance of warming up
“From when kids first get into our program we teach them how to stretch so that they grow up and it becomes a part of their routine. With our older kids, it’s mandated that we spend 10-15 minutes before practice on it just to try to prevent injuries. Warming up and getting your ligaments ready before you go hard for all of the banging is definitely important.
“There’s so many different stretches. We have a routine that our kids go through. Just being consistent about it is what I feel is most important, so that when they do go play pick up or work out they have that incorporated into what they do as an athlete on their own.
“We use the rollers to help out with the stretching. The rollers seem to be a very big thing right now. We had a sponsor last year that sponsored our entire high school program that gave all 40 of our players rollers. Kids roll their ligaments on them and it helps them out a lot. “
Best advice he’d offer:
“Ice and stretching are your biggest friends. Be aware of your body and know your limitations. Be able to notice the alerts that your body tells you and don’t look past it.”
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