Monday, December 28, 2009

More on Youth Training

If a child is ready for participation in organized sports, he or she is ready to undergo instruction in resistance training. As a result of modern sedentary lifestyles, young athletes are often not physically prepared for the rigors of sports. This lack of physical activity causes weakness, inflexibility, and poor motor skills - all factors causing poor performance and an increased risk of sports injury. Read what Louis Simmons, powerlifting champion and expert on strength training says,

"There has been much said about lifting and age. Everyone has their viewpoint. The United States, for the most part, will start young, 8-10 years old, in a particular sport such as football, baseball, basketball, boxing, and wrestling. It's almost always sports specific. That is, they participate in the sport with no prior general physical preparedness (GPP).
In the old Soviet countries, there were sport institutes that prepared the youth age 12 and above for sports but not by playing a certain sport, but by a well-prepared process of GPP. This is general mobility, flexibility, dexterity, endurance, hand/eye coordination, balance, and strength. For example, pushups, pull-ups, rope climbing, medicine ball work, kettle bell work, and some running and short sprints are done. They produced the model athlete for their sports system. Children were chosen for the sport that suited their physical, mental, and emotional qualities. Neither the child nor the parents were able to pick the sport."

"...the incidence of overuse injuries sustained by young athletes could be reduced by 50% if more emphasis was placed on the development of fundamental fitness abilities before sports participation."
Faigenbaum, A., Schram, J. Can Resistance Training Reduce Injuries in Youth Sports? Strength and Conditioning Journal 26(3) p18. 2004.

"Approximately one-third of young athletes participating in organized sports in the United States sustain injuries requiring medical attention. Incidence of medical treatment for sports injuries peaks between the ages of 5 and 14 years and progressively decreases thereafter." Gamble, P. Approaching Physical Preparation for Youth Team-Sports Players. Strength and Conditioning Journal 30(1) p30. 2008.

The main premise for youth training is that there is no point in trying to impose sports specific training on flawed fundamental movement patterns. Teaching basic movement mechanics for running stopping, changing direction, jumping, and landing must form the basis of training for all young athletes.

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