I have three daughters in gymnastics from ages seven to 12. Each one practices at least 20 hours a week. I worry about injuries. How much is too much?

Many studies have been done to study how much is “too much” for the young baseball pitcher. Similar studies haven’t been done for gymnastics. The average serious gymnast puts in 14 to 20 hours a week.

Coaches, doctors, and parents are concerned about practice schedules. Doctors report that overuse injuries are on the rise. Injuries never seen before in children and young teens are now reported in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices.

More studies are needed to answer this question. Until then, parents and coaches can work together to find out what’s best for each athlete. This is based on body size and type. Muscle strength is important, too.

Proper nutrition, rest, and adequate warm-ups are needed for all athletes. Pre-teen and adolescent girls must also take into consideration changes in hormones and the start of their menstrual cycle. Training hours may need to be adjusted around these issues.