In Part 1 of this series, we talked about why kids shouldn’t specialize in one sport until they are more physically mature, and they have a wide swath of movement skills already developed.
In Part 2, we talked about how disjointed the physical preparation process can be, especially with half-a-dozen or more coaches influencing any one particular athlete.
But arguably the biggest issue we have nowadays when it comes to training our young athletes is the lack of focus on the big picture.
When training young athletes, the goal is to give them a foundation to be happy, healthy adults.
While everyone wants to think Little Johnny is the next Tiger Woods, the fact of the matter is less than 1% of kids who play high school sports play at the Division-1 level.
Our goal here at IFAST when training a young athlete is to teach them to move well.
Whether we’re talking about proper joint mobility, proper joint stability, or how those work together to create clean squats, push-ups, and lunges, at the end of the day movement should be the over-arching theme of our programs.
Every day we’re inundated with numbers:
- Childhood obesity is up X%,
- Y% of the population is now considered obese, or
- Health-issues are up Z% because people are overweight.
Obesity is a real problem, and I can imagine it’s only going to get worse with time. While I’m typically a very positive person, I don’t see this changing any time soon.
As such, one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is the ability to move well, so they can go out and live happy, healthy lives.
The Greek philosopher Thales said over 2000 years ago:
“A sound mind in a sound body.”
Quite simply, the two are interconnected. Push the education and mental literacy, but don’t forget about physical literacy as well.
And taking that a step further, we want to teach them how to train effectively (lifts weights, condition, etc.). Once someone moves wells, a natural progression is to move more.
By teaching someone the fundamentals of lifting weights and conditioning appropriately, we give them the tools necessary to stay in great shape throughout the rest of their lives.
I joke that the athletes I’ve trained over the years will still hear me coaching and cuing them when they’re 30, 40 or 50 years old working out in the gym.
I want them to be thinking “abs tight” when doing a push-up, or “knees out” when doing a squat. And If I’ve done that, I’ve done my job.
So there you have it, three of the biggest issues I see when training young athletes nowadays.
If you’re in the Indianapolis area, you can still register for the Young Athlete Training seminar, which will be held Tuesday, November 12th from 7:30-8:30 pm at IFAST.
Register either via the link in the calendar (right-hand corner of your screen), or simply call IFAST at 317.578.0998.
We hope to see you there!
All the best
(Lead photo courtesy of Woodley Wonderworks)