Don't practice and play one sport more hours per week than the child's age.
Don't spend more than twice as much time playing organized sports as in the gym and unorganized play.
Don't specialize in one sport before late adolescence.
Take a break from competition for 1 to 3 months each year.
Take at least 1 day off per week.
Jayanthi says he's seen overtraining injuries from individual sports such as gymnastics, tennis, swimming, competitive dance, as well as team sports like soccer, basketball and baseball.
"Early introduction is completely fine," Jayanthi said. "You can get kids out there and develop athletic skills. The problem is early specialization."
Jayanthi and his colleagues presented their findings at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine meeting recently. A similar survey at UCLA looked at the sports histories of 300 collegiate athletes in 220 varsity spots. It found that the best athletes shared two things: a diverse sports history until late teens and parents who were also competitive athletes.