Youth Performance Training

Youth, parents, and the education system should be on high alert. Budget cuts, electronics, and an increasing sedentary lifestyle have lead to less developed and overweight youth. The days of yard work and outdoor activities are gone. What is left are overweight, underdeveloped, and less physically active youth. These characteristics result in lower levels of muscular and neurological development. In September of 2009, the magazine Pediatrics released its findings from a study on injuries to youth. The findings were astonishing. Between 1977 and 2007, injuries to youth whom were involved in physical education classes increased by 150 percent. Of the 150 percent, 52 percent were in middle school. The major American sports (football, basketball, and soccer) accounted for 70 percent of the injuries. If a study were to be performed in 2012, one might assume that the study might factor in sports such as Lacrosse, Ice Hockey, or Martial Arts. If these sports were accounted for during the study we may have paid witness to an even greater increase in injuries. These numbers do not reflect a change in the sport itself, but rather a change in the youth whom are participating. As doomed as it sounds, there is hope for youth. All youth should be involved in resistance training by an educated coach. Here are “musts” when developing a program that trains youth. Must make it fun Youth who participate in training programs (exercise regularly) benefit in more than one way. Exercise has been shown to increase and support psychological and social development, as well as self-confidence. In addition, strength and coordination is improved upon. In 2009, a Canadian based study analyzed 7 to 12 years old youth who participate in games, strength training, and nutritional programs. The results showed improved body composition, increased strength, and enhanced self confidence. These results, along with all other adaptations to exercise, are a result of consistent training. A youth training program should focus on core, strength, power, form, sprint technique, and many others. However, the program and/or training session must be presented through a fun atmosphere. During youth training sessions the strength and conditioning coach should integrate obstacle courses and/or relay races. These activities should incorporate movements and exercises that were performed and learned during the workout. The most successful youth program places its focus on drills / exercises that emphasize proper technique during all movements. However, after coaching up the technique, youth must be allowed to practice what they have learned at full speed (i.e. competitions). Must Incorporate injury prevention training Youth training must incorporate movements that utilize proprioception. Proprioception training involves placing persons in an environment that is stable yet unstable. Examples include bosu balance trainers, core trainers, airex pads, single leg exercises, and many others… These exercises require a high degree of core stability and ligament / ten