Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Youth Athletes and Training for Sport

Today's blog is going to talk about youth athletes and how they should train for "sport".  Let's talk about what I mean by "sport".  Sport is referring to any specific sport weather that be football, baseball, soccer, etc.  Now let's talk about what I mean by "youth athlete".  When I refer to "youth athletes" I am referring to athletes who have not reached puberty.  At this stage in an young athletes life it is critical to be very careful about how they train.  Young athletes should not be focused on one particular sport when they are this young for various reasons.

You will often see baseball fields and football fields across the country filled with young athletes playing their hearts out.  It makes me proud as a strength and conditioning coach to see this.  The one problem I see with this is many of these athletes do nothing else besides these sports.  This can be dangerous and harmful for ones skill development.  Kids are designed to run and jump and play.  They are not designed to train.  Unfortunately I see a lot of parents get too worked up and focused on making sure their child is the next prodigy.  Prior to puberty kids need to be playing games and sports that develop their genetic potential and work on their coordination and flexibility.  In other words, let your kids have fun.  The stress of sports is high and most kids are very competitive and its our jobs as parents and role modals to stress to kids that sports are fun.  Kids that get worked up over sports too early are the ones that will never stay with the sport.

It is also our job as role models to allow kids to experiment with different sports.  A kid who focuses on one sport too early is more likely to leave that sport.  I've seen many kids who show so much potential to excel in a given sport but because of the pressure put on them by either their parents or their coaches they leave the sport.  It no longer becomes fun.  From experience my father never pushed me to play one particular sport.  I played basketball, baseball, football, soccer and hockey and when I left a sport he never forced me to stay in, in fact all he did was encourage me to try something new.  Probably why I fell in love with CrossFit, I have never been happy with just one sport.  I consistently look for new skills and strengths to master.  Using the CrossFit methodology, "constantly learn and play new sports", is a great way to find what your kids are passionate about.

Never allow your kids to become stagnant in one particular sport.  Never let the stress of "sport" get too high.  Its our job to keep them level headed, its their job to give their all no matter one sport they are playing.  Sports were designed to be fun and at the same time challenge you.  Allow the youth of our country to find a new challenge, accept it, and crush it!!