There’s a big issue affecting today’s youth athletes and that is how exactly they should develop. Club sports are dominating year-round now and how athletes perform for those teams really dictate how far they will go with their sport in terms of earning a college scholarship.
But are competitive games really the answer in order to develop the best athletes possible?
In a perfect world, kids wouldn’t compete until they have physically proven that they can perform the necessary movements and actions needed for their sport. Why is that you ask? Having under-developed athletes go 100% in movements they are not yet able to perform is just asking for serious injury. You wouldn’t jump on a bike without first learning how to ride a tricycle! Some will argue that the sports practices are enough to teach the athletes what they need to be successful, and for some teams that may be true, but a majority of the time, it is countless aerobic conditioning sessions or “agility” drills that don’t typically carry over well to the sport. Also there is the problem that constantly practicing the same few movements over and over again make a youth athlete susceptible to injury when an action they haven’t practiced occurs in a competition. This is where having the athletes work with a strength coach (or any sort of athletic development coach) can really help.
A strength coach can help teach the athletes (especially youth athletes) the basic movement patterns that will not only help them in their sport but will also lead to a healthier athlete as well. The most important aspect a youth athlete needs to learn is how to “feel” and control their own body in space. This is as simple as learning how to correctly perform a certain number of body weight movements. It does not require any advanced training program with gadgets and tools. In my next post, I will discuss what I believe are the essential movements all athletes should master before moving on to more advanced movements or weighted exercises.
Seth Klarin is the assistant director of performance and operations at Chamber Fitness in Davie, FL. He is a certified strength and conditioning coach (NSCA-CSCS) and personal trainer (ACSM-CPT) along with holding a Master’s degree in Sports Sciences from Florida State University. Seth has been training athletes and clients of all ages and ability levels and continues to educate himself in the sports science and physical preparation fields.