Youth athletics is a hot topic in the sporting world and school systems. There are many schools of thought, some are valid while others are not. Everyone has an opinion regardless of their credibility. That is why it is vitally important to know who to listen to. Being in the field for nearly 15 years has shown me the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is a simple outline to show why early athletic development is a MUST in our culture especially in Midlothian.
While education is paramount to ones’ success in their chose field. It does not matter where that education comes from (life experiences, learning, or college). Becoming more is a process of finding a way for success. While there are high level degrees we can attain putting training to use is what results in athletic development, not paralysis analysis. Before the fall of Athlete’s Complete Training Source (ACTS), Youth Speed School was the meat and potatoes of my athletic development program. We took athletes from age 8-18 to work on basic strength, power, speed, agility, and overall conditioning. Depending on an athlete’s age would determine which program we put them on. Speed and agility work was done with all athletes regardless of age. At age 12 we started basic weight training and age 15 we started beginners Olympic lifting. Some of you may be cringing as you are reading this. THAT IS GOOD, because here is TRUTH. Weight lifting for children is good, IF done correctly. Done correctly means under supervision of someone who has credibility, experience, and the ability to coach; not just be a rep counter.
There are thousands of training programs for young athletes, thousands of ways to do it correctly, and thousands of ways to do it incorrectly. If you allow your child to work with someone that is inexperienced and has no background working with kids, you could possibly be setting them up for failure and injury. Training in itself is not bad. Incorrect techniques and form is what can damage ANYONE not just youth. Below are 5 simple steps to ensure your children have an optimal run at athletics and life.
1. Start early – If parents are not active and positive role models, children will mimic that and go no where in life. Children are a product of their surroundings. (Make it a family affair)
2. Encourage multiple sports to develop as an athlete, not as a baseball player. The more kids develop multiple skills through athleticism the better their sporting and life experiences will be in the long run.
3. You can not do sport specific training for football, track, soccer, etc. We can train for athleticism. Through that your athlete will be born and by developing those skills they will translate onto the field or courts of athletics.
4. NUTRITION is vital. No matter how hard your kids push on and off the field if they are not using the correct food (fuel) and nutrient timing, they may be doing more harm than good. Simplify your nutrition and watch their health and performance soar.
5. Work with a professional, not an amateur. Your children are your babies. Do not trust their health, performance, and life to some Joe Schmo in a corporate gym that is designed by the system to sell personal training. Most of them care about one thing, their paycheck and hitting their numbers. Trust me, I used to be one of them. Find someone who cares about the end goal and doing whatever it takes to ensure their success in athletics and life.