Monday, January 27, 2014

Approach to Training Youth Athletes

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Today we want to give show you the handout we give all of the parents of our youth athletes. When a parent comes wanting more information about the program or when a kid signs-up this is what we give them.

We do this for a couple of reasons. One is lets the parents know where we are coming from and what we hope to accomplish from our program. Often times parents come in wanting all these different performance increases with their kid, and their child is in 5th grade.

From day 1 we try to make sure they understand we aren't trying to increase your 12-year olds vertical by 6-inches or drop their 40-time by xxx many tenths of a second. We are working to build a diverse base of movement skills, proper movement technique, and coordination.

All of these performance goals will naturally occur due to our well-rounded program, but we want to set the athlete up for future success and not specialize them into anything at a young age. A great base of movement, technique, and coordination will set them up for long-term success, and that the goal.

Long-Term Development is the key!

A great quote we like is, "short-term gains = long-term pains; short-term pains = long-term gains."

Basically if you're so set on your young child improving in the here and now, you'll more than likely be setting them up for failure down the down.

If you understand that sometimes taking a step back, slowing down, and sacrificing immediate success will benefit long-term development and setting your child up for a life of success and health.

This is what it boils down to and often times the challenge to communicate with parents, but the following handout goes a long ways to help.

We recommend you make your own handout or take ours and use it. Either way it's a great source to have if you have youngsters in your facility.

Long-Term Development

First and foremost my goal is NOT for your child to getter faster, jump higher, or gain strength - it’s to enhance fundamental skills and movement. Working on these fundamental skills and movements will increase all of those biomotors (strength, speed, flexibility, strength, and cardio-respiratory) naturally as a result of quality, skill-based training systems.

The goal of these training sessions is not for quick gains or acute changes, it for LONG-TERM development. I like to say “Cook ‘em slow.” Training young athletes isn’t about focusing on making them better right now; they will most certainly make great improvements, but I want to set them up for future success. The skills, techniques, and lessons they learn in my class will plant a seed that will that will come to fruition years down the road. The goal is to help prevent injury and learn the basic fundamentals and techniques that will allow them to be the best athlete they can be.

Your child will increase his/her basic motor skills, coordination, and body awareness in a fun and playful manner. My fitness program will solidify a diverse foundation of physical qualities, motor development, coordination, and body awareness. Engaging in a fitness program can decrease injuries, increase strength, increase bone density, increase body composition, and help to balance out youth athletes by teaching an array of fundamental movement patterns and skills.

Overall your child WILL get stronger, faster, quicker, and more powerful, but these will be a result of sound and safe training progression that focuses on developing a quality base of skill and movement.

Early Specialization

Early specialization has been shown through various studies to increase overuse injuries, burnout, stagnation, and likelihood to quit. Kids are getting injured at higher rates, losing interest quicker, and being abused by poor coaches with poor understanding of a youth’s developing body. Too much importance is being put on winning, instead of development of the athlete. Here’s some more bad news, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Twenty percent of 8-12 year olds and 45% of 13-14 year olds will have arm pain at one point in time during a baseball/softball season
  • Kids, ages 5-14, account for nearly 40% of ALL sports-related injured treated in hospitals 
  • Sixty-two percent of injuries occur during PRACTICE 
  • More than half of all sport injuries are preventable! 
  • Nearly 50% of all injuries sustained by 6-12 graders are overuse injuries 
  • There has been a 400% increase in ACL injuries the past 10 years 
  • There has been a fivefold increase in the number of serious elbow or shoulder injuries since 2000
  • By age 13, 70% of kids quit sports. Number 1 reason? ADULTS (coaches and parents) 

A youth’s body is not developed for specialization. Their skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems are not developed to handle the repetitive stresses that specialization requires. Their bodies and systems thrive and develop with diverse and various movements, skills, and stimuli.

Getting involved in a training program has been shown time and time again to be one of the most beneficial things young kids can do. It reduces overuse, reduces imbalances, reduces injuries, enhances coordination, and enhances athletic ability. The vast array of skills, fundamentals, and movements learned in this class benefit children in so many different ways. Being involved with different sports or training programs at a young age allows children to build an athletic base and foundation from which they will build a future. If you want to build a high structure, you need a solid foundation. Laying a foundation of specialization may work well in the short-term, but it creates a flimsy and weak base for the long-term. Plus you can never tell what your child’s best or favorite sport will be at a young age. You never know what they might develop a passion for; so giving them opportunities to experience many different athletic experiences like this class are beneficial.

Why Youth Training/Fitness

Cognitive - Exercise has been shown to improve a whole mess of things ranging from learning, concentration, memory, understanding, behavior, and grades. The part of the brain that processes movement, the cerebellum, is the same part of the brain that processes learning. So when kids move, they are stimulating the learning areas of the brain. Science is pretty cool huh!

Social – Training and exercise arguably teaches and develops social skills better than anything else can. Teamwork, communication, group cooperation, trust, responsibility, feedback, and accountability are all qualities developed to a higher degree in fitness classes.

Emotional - John Wooden once said, "Sports don't build character, they reveal it". Physical activity brings to light qualities like sportsmanship, reflection, emotional management, self-control, temperament, and patience. It truly reveals emotional qualities and gives kids a chance to reflect on their actions and emotions.

Physical - Teaches fundamental movement skills, physical development, motor learning, fitness, health, and nutrition. These fundamentals promote healthier children, less sickness, improved concentration, and higher academic achievement. This aids in developing positive life-long feelings about exercise, nutrition, health, and well being.

My Philosophy

Overall I want to lay out my philosophy and my approach to training and fitness

  • Fun – Everything I do, I want to make it fun. I try to create an environment of playing/fun and have the training effects happen as a byproduct of this fun/playful environment. 
  • Long-Term Development – My goal is to create a big, diverse base of movement, skill, and technique. This program is designed to reduce injury, perfect movement mechanics, allow the kids to explore their movements, have fun, and create a positive social structure. A tall pyramid can only be built with a big foundation. 
  • Individualized – I try to structure my program so it is as specific and individualized as possible. Every kid has their own unique learning style, anatomy, and biomechanics. I want to make this training as beneficial as I can by emphasizing each kids unique differences. 
  • Role Model – I hope I can be someone your kid can look up to and trust that I have their best interest for them. I want to model a healthy environment and a positive relationship to fitness and training that will last a lifetime. 
  • Trust/Care – I have the best interest for your child and want to see them succeed. You can trust that I am qualified and care about the well-being of your child. I would never put your child in a situation they could be injured. 

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