The NBA realizes that playing too much basketball can make young athletes burnout and get tired of the sport. As such, the organization recommends the following guidelines for playing time: Ages seven and eight should only play one game a week, with one practice; ages nine to 11 should play one to two games a week, with two practices; ages 12 to 14 should play two games a week, with two to four practices; and those in grades nine to 12 should play two to three games a week, with three to four practices.
Similarly, the NBA recommends that players ages seven to eight play a maximum of four months of organized basketball per year; ages nine to 11 play a maximum of five months of organized basketball per year; ages 12 to 14 play a maximum of seven months of organized basketball per year; and those in grades nine to 12 play a maximum of nine to 10 months of organized basketball per year.
The NBA recommends that players hold off on specializing in basketball until they are 14-yeard old, as this gives them the opportunity to try other sports and decide which they like best. Additionally, it allows them to gain skills from other sports that they might not have had otherwise, as well as make more friends by having numerous groups of people to associate with. According to experts, waiting to specialize in a sport such as basketball doesn’t indicate that a young athlete is “falling behind.” Indeed, studies have shown that athletes that reach the highest level of achievement are more likely to have played multiple sports at a young age compared to athletes that reach relatively lower levels of achievement. Therefore, allowing young athletes to experiment with many different sports isn’t an irresponsible choice; rather, it is a smart choice, both for the athletes’ futures and present circumstances.