Youth Athlete Development
Tom Barry states: “if you only read one book, no matter how many times you read it, you will only learn so much.” It is important to learn the basics of more than one subject to create a better foundation of knowledge, which makes it easier to go on to learn advanced subjects. This lesson applies directly to the training of youth athletes. It is our job as coaches to teach them the basics of general movements to help them perform at their chosen sport.
Young athletes need to prioritize having a foundation of general physical preparedness (GPP). Also, as they advance, this foundation needs to continue to develop to reduce injury and expand their base. Technique must be prioritized and, as progress is made, the training must become more strenuous.
The book The Rule of Three by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell stresses the following points for youth athletes:
The importance of a quality coach to an athlete’s success
The prominent role of an athletic training plan
The child must be happy, enthusiastic and not overtrained.
From there, Simmons went on to give the specific physical qualities to assess and develop early in an athlete’s development. These skills included, but were not limited to the following: speed, flexibility, reaction time, endurance, and special strengths.
Below are some ways to improve an athlete’s GPP. They are movements and ideas that are incorporated in to my programming for the Student Athlete Program on a regular basis.
Speed and reaction time: Jump rope, strengthen legs with sleds (as to not load the spine), squats, lunges, step ups, skip, jump from knees, bounding, short sprints, throwing and catching, basic jumps and bounds. With all of the aforementioned exercises, reaction time can be exaggerated by have them perform the exercise triggered by a stimulus. For example, have the athlete react to a sound.
Endurance: Exercises can be combined or done monostructural in the following ways to improve endurance - circuits, repetitive, intervals, continuous with constant intensity, or varied intensity.
Flexibility: Gymnastics and yoga are great ways for youth athletes to improve their flexibility. However, flexibility training combined with strength training is a superior way to train. Joint stability must improve simultaneously as joint mobility. Also, it should be noted that increasing a young athlete’s flexibility can help them improve their agility.
Agility: Play ball games, tag, and obstacle courses, and practice general skills that will improve motor control for specific sports.
We can help your student athlete improve strength development and increase power output through proper training techniques and individualized programming. Click below to check out what we offer!