NBA guidelines: Don’t focus on just basketball before age 14

Young athletes are being urged to not specialize in basketball until they are at least 14 years old.

According to guidelines announced by the NBA and USA Basketball, players should also take at least one day off from organized basketball each week and extended time off at least once a year for proper physical and mental recovery.

The guidelines were announced Monday to begin Jr. NBA Week, following research and recommendations from panels of medical experts, former players, and coaches and administrators throughout basketball.

They found that athletes who have the most success played multiple sports at a young age and didn’t focus on a specific one until late adolescence. Dr. John DiFiori, NBA director of sports medicine and UCLA team physician, said playing multiple sports doesn’t mean falling behind. Rather, they “actually provide a strong foundation for success in your sport.”

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