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First time on a sport thread; I need to talk about teenagers, exercise & over training. Can anyone help?

(10 Posts)
KatyMac Mon 19-Sep-11 21:48:57

DD (nearly 14)has just changed the amount of exercise she does; from about 5 hrs (or so) dancing a week to 15 hrs (or so)

It was an unhappy coincidence of her BTEC dance starting and being accepted into Ballet School.

My brother (who is very fit, cycling, mountaineering, windsurfing etc) is concerned about her "over training" and also about her being down/depressed on non-dancing days

In English (with short words please) what do I need to know/look out for to protect DD and keep her safe

Oh & he also wants her to cross train......whatever that is (plus piles of vit supplements & a pint of FF milk a day hmm)

notyummy Tue 20-Sep-11 11:55:29

Your brother is right to flag up the possibility of problems. There are certain sports/activities (gymnastics and dance being the prime offenders) that have a high level of over training and eating disorders associated with them. This does not mean that everyone will suffer, but worth keeping an eye out. 15 hours a week is not absolutely excessive IF it is in structured, managed classes (i.e with a qualified instructor who knows how much training in total the participants are doing and therefore structures the classes so they are not 15 hours of the same type of exercises, or 15 hours of absolutely back breaking effort level.)

Is she down/depressed on non dancing days? This could be a signal of a certain level of addiction to exercise and a warning signal.

Cross training is basically a term for any type of training that is different to your main type, to challenge the body of give it an opportunity to recover. An example would be someone who runs also fitting in a weight training class and a yoga class, to ensure they stretch and work on their upper body/core.

FF milk not necessarily essential, but obviously she needs to be taking in a suitable number of good quality calories, and calcium important given how much weight bearing stuff she will be doing in dance.


KatyMac Tue 20-Sep-11 13:06:57

The classes are very mixed
5.5 BTec in school
6.5 (5 plus 1.5) at 'proper' ballet school - but split Ballet/contemporary/creative
1 Ballet Grades
1 African
1.5 Ballroom & Latin

She isn't depressed atm but she only started last week (the BTec & Ballet school are new)

FF Milk is an issue as she has asthma & dairy tends to thicken mucus so is avoided

We aren't worried now; we just want to be aware

golemmings Wed 21-Sep-11 20:30:25

it might be worth asking about the Long Term Athlete Development model for dance. In itself its not sport specific but it does provide a framework for developing young athletes from the fundamentals of movement through recreational sport and exercise and on to elite performance.

Most sports governing bodies have adapted it for their own sports. I use it with young paddlers and I know that the swimming one suggests 14-25 hours in the water a week is not unreasonable plus land-based activities. Swimming of course is a very different activity from dance but if the dancers use it it might provide you with a good over view of the appropriate max amount of training she should be for her age and developmental stage.

KatyMac Wed 21-Sep-11 21:21:21

Thanks - I have fund your swimming one & a cricket one

But I am struggling with dance

golemmings Thu 22-Sep-11 09:08:01

Katy - I was struggling to find a dance one too tbh. It might be worth getting your dd to ask her dance teachers if it used in the dance world and if she can have a look at it. The general (non-sport specific) one might give you some feel as to the level of intensity and type of activity that she should be doing too.

KatyMac Thu 22-Sep-11 11:19:21

It seems to suggest that 15 hrs is the low end of professional training for a 16 yo (ideally 18-25)

So I guess that is medium/high for a nearly 14yo; so not too bad I suppose

KatyMac Thu 22-Sep-11 11:20:11

I was looking at an athletics one btw

golemmings Thu 22-Sep-11 15:29:48

All sports vary a bit. I guess it depends on the amount of other exercise expected - dancers and gymnasts may well not be expected to do much other sport for risk of taking damage but I don't really know much about either.

I'm fairly certain that the paddling one doesn't suggest a number of hours in the LTPD but the programmes I've seen suggest that 'hopeful' juniors do 7-13 sessions a week, the development squad do 8-14 and the elite squads do 10-16 sessions - mainly on the water, with half that number of sessions in the gym and 2-3 sessions of running/swimming/other sport a week. I know some of the kids doing that level of performance - mainly 6th formers for the elite squad manage to have lives outside the sport but some do nothing but school work and training and as a parent that would bother me. Although, if they have the potential to go all the way and become a professional then there's nothing for it to put in the hours and elite performance does take thousands of hours...

KatyMac Thu 22-Sep-11 16:16:45

I found this one too that talks about hours on page 2

“Right now we have too many clubs in Great Britain offering too little training time and in most cases too much competition. This leaves many athletes in a twilight zone of training less than 14 hours a week, hoping for international results and expecting overseas tours and camps and national level success. For an athlete training 8 hours a week the benefits are social, fun, participation, team building and health benefits. For those athletes wishing for an international career and who are serious about optimum performance at the national level then swimming in a programme with a high performance objective of 18-25 hours is approximately what it will take to achieve these objectives. However, in most countries and in most clubs, the vast majority of athletes train between 8 and 14 hours per week. This is the twilight zone, too much volume to be fun and achieve the social and happy benefits of the participation level (8 hours and under) and not enough to achieve the competitive results or optimum performance that an athlete expects. In other words it is too much for participation and too little to be considered really serious in terms of the competitive nature of the sport. Changing this twilight zone should be the major focus of every club and national programme.”

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