I feel there is a tremendous stress on young athletes today by trainers and coaches to become stronger and faster. This short-sighted approach is not what is always possible nor should it be the focal point of a strength program. We need our athletes healthy and strong. The only way to achieve that is through the proper techniques implied at the appropriate time in our young athlete’s career. A consistent progressive system over time is the best approach for these young athletes. The standard 6-8 week programs promised by coaches and trainers don’t work. Yes, you can get stronger and faster in 6-8 weeks, but what happens after those 6-8 weeks? We need a consistent long term approach to athletic development.
Fitness for our young athletes is like academics. You don’t start in the 8th grade without going through the 7th grade. On your first day in the weight room, you should not be squatting with a load on your back, even if you’re 6’2” and 220 lbs. Your physical training should be taught, broken down, and then re-taught and broken down again.
I feel youth fitness has a great purpose if implied correctly by qualified professionals who treat fitness as a learning tool for children to grasp and develop over time. Many parents and coaches are big supporters of their young athletes participating on teams, clubs and in camps. However, we need to change direction and focus our efforts toward the investment in their conditioning to keep our young athletes strong and healthy. The only way to accomplish this is not by judging their success as a young athlete or the travel teams they participate in on the short term, but rather by how well their lessons and training are adhered to in the long term. Proper fitness and training is the key to developing strong and healthy young athletes; it not only builds better athletes, but promotes a healthy, positive lifestyle. If we start them young with learning the proper techniques, long term success and long term health is not only achievable, but inevitable.
Check out Jimmy Quinn a freshman Lacrosse player at Darien high school.
Tell me what you think?