Teens and Sports – Finding a Healthy Balance

teens and sports

This 5 Minute Insight post is all about exercise, teens and sports. When is too much, too much? How do we teach our kids how to have a healthy balance of exercise and training in their lives?

Resident Expert:

Melanie Mazurka is a Manager/Fitness Coach at Fitness Together. Since she was a child she has enjoyed everything outdoors – running, climbing and jumping! Growing up, fitness was always fun for Melanie and as she got older she knew she wanted to share her passion with other people for her profession. Her mantra: Being healthy doesn’t have to feel like a chore. It can be an enjoyable experience.


Melanie has been part of the Fitness Together team for over eight years. There, she helps create an environment where clients can change their negative health and lifestyle habits by using well-educated and caring teaching methods. As a trainer, she enjoys the relationships she forms with all of her clients and believes she helps people live better lives.

She received her bachelor’s degree in health promotion & fitness from Keene State College in 2006. She holds certifications with American College of Sports Medicine and Red Cross First Aid/CPR.



RSG: Do you have a specialty in terms of training teens in a particular sport? Dance? Soccer? Basketball, etc.?

MM: My specialty is teaching teens functional movement patterns and applying resistance to these movements with bands, cables and kettle bells. My goal is to increase awareness of how to move the body properly and increase core strength, helping with injury prevention and improved posture. My training principles can be used for any sports specific training as well as general fitness!

RSG: As parents we are always trying to balance pushing too much, or doing too little, for our young athletes. What is your advice for this ongoing parental struggle?

MM: This always comes down to your own child’s goals. Are they competitive by nature or do they just enjoy playing their sport? Is their goal to be the best, or is it just to improve performance? If you see form breaking down, or notice fatigue in the young athlete, it is the trainer’s job to decrease the weight or regress the movement. It all depends on the young athlete’s goal and whether they like being pushed or not. Each child has a different way of learning, it’s up to the trainer to figure out the best teaching method and apply it to exercise movement.

RSG: What is the most important thing we should look for in a coach or trainer for our teens in sports?

MM: My advice is always work out with the trainer or at the facility first. Get a sense of their training style and what their philosophy is. Make sure your child feels comfortable in the environment and around the staff. I found kids who work out with their team or a friend tend to excel quicker. Do a consult with the trainer and your young athlete so that communication is clear and the goals are outlined in advance.

RSG: Is that the same for Moms of teens?

MM: Yes, the same applies for Moms of teens as well.

RSG: Overuse injuries are very prevalent in today’s society as our teens are forced to specialize in their desired sport at a very young age. What is your advice for injury prevention?

MM: DO MORE THAN JUST ONE SPORT! I can’t stress this enough. Repeating the same movement patterns over an extended period of time will result in injury – plain and simple. Allow your child to express themselves in multiple sports, even if it’s just play. For example, going to the park to play waffle ball, going to meet up with friends to play some pickup basketball, doing a yoga class with a parent on Sundays.


Essential Mom Advice

My advice to Moms would be not to put yourself last. Your health is first, always. Find time to stay active and find time to incorporate exercise into your own routine. A child will pick up on the fact that you exercise and they will assume that it’s a natural part of their every day routine. I came from a family where no one exercised and I was lucky enough to excel in sports. If I didn’t have sports, I’m not sure I would have ever known the importance of working out. Gym class in school does not provide enough information, or time, due to funds always being diverted from physical education programs. It’s on the parents to lead by example!

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