Every pursuit in life needs to be balanced out in order to stay healthy physically and mentally. This doesn’t change even if the pursuit is sports, whatever the athlete’s age may be. This unfortunately is not reality; in fact the opposite is true in most cases. It seems as though most cases parents and coaches ride their kid’s way too hard in the hope of that they will be the next big star in their specific sport.

 

It may seem like an innocent thing and I believe that these parents/ coaches are well-intentioned and really want to bring out the best in their young ones. However, I have been training juvenile athletes for a few years now and have seen nothing good come out of this approach. In fact what I have seen it led to is compensations in the child’s movements, dysfunction and injuries that shouldn’t happen in people  their age. I have witnessed as a result of this thought process issues young people such as: a lack of toe touch , torn hamstrings and injured shoulders. Not all of the time but quite often these issues stem from poor coaching by under-qualified individuals who have no understanding of how the human body works and how to perform well as an athlete. They think that every weakness that the child possesses in their sport is always them not trying hard enough and or being lazy. So they over schedule practices and punish them with running and other drills to make them motivated, without realizing that they are making them and their problem worse. This usually leads to a decline in performance and more importantly the individual’s health .

 

All of this may sound weak to you as you read it and you may think “this guy is wrong.” However, being a former athlete in an intense sport (boxing) I know what it is like t be over-trained and to be pushed too hard too often. I have experienced life altering injuries as a result and don’t want to have others go through what I went through. Also as an educated strength coach; I know what it takes to perform at your top-level as an athlete and what is going on in the sport world for the most part is not that!

 

 

This however is a not an excuse to train hard and practice diligently, it is however a call to get educated and start to use our heads as a society when it comes to young athletes. In my opinion practices should be just that; practices. It should be a time of working on skills especially where the athletes are weak at and some maintenance of the things that they are good at.

 

Strength training and conditioning need to be more balanced out as well. If the young person’s goal is to get stronger then, have them do that by lifting heavy enough weights with a focus on proper technique, tension and explosiveness. Conditioning should be just the right amount to produce a stimulus and not lead to the inability to keep their form. This is true form running to kettlebell movements and so on. A good question to ask your self is, Is their fitness training messing up their performance on the very next day? If so it is too much and needs balancing out!

 

 

Lastly, young athlete shouldn’t specialize in one sport too soon. The best pros usually can play more than one sport well and some have even done it all the way through college. Time should be spent away from their sport on vacations and just time away from playing it and practices. In order to keep the young athlete performing at his or her top-level for the long haul.

 

The body works the way in a specific way and the laws of performance do not change. Even if it is an athlete is young and  may recover faster due to a higher oxygen uptake than their adult counter parts. However, this doesn’t mean that they can be pushed too far too often. There must be a balance and an intentional and intelligent approach to their development. Or else we will have a bunch of young people with injuries that they shouldn’t have. Also we will have a bunch of young people who have potential, but will never make it  “big time” due to unwise coaching and parental choices. Be wise about how hard you push your children and how often you play and train. In other words, find a balance!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s