3 Benefits of strength and conditioning training for youth athletes
Rosemary Marchese – Physiotherapist and Schroth Physio for Scoliosis
Strength and conditioning training of the young athlete is often overlooked in children who play a lot of sport. We see a lot of children with preventable injuries at Max Sports Physiotherapy Clinic, where the child is playing a lot of sport but is missing fundamental strength in crucial areas. Many crucial decisions for long term athletic development are made during the youth (6 to 12 years) and adolescent (12-19 years) period. There is a trend towards early sport specialisation in these years but many of these children are not yet competent in a broad spectrum of movements, and therefore they are well rounded to perform their best.
Strength and conditioning training can be a suitable way to prepare youth athletes for their sport development. An age appropriate program developed by qualified professionals is essential. The National Strength and Conditioning Association has determined that strength and conditioning training can be safe and effective for developing strength, coordination and athleticism in children from the age of 6 years of age.
Benefits of strength and conditioning training for kids
- Reduced injury risk
Strength and conditioning training can help prevent injury in children, even in the developing athlete who plays a lot of sport. The more sport children play, the more need they have for a proper strength and conditioning program. A properly designed program guards against overtraining of one muscle group over another by incorporating exercises to balance and provide joint stability for the movements required by that child for a specific sport. This can even be position specific. Children who are balanced, strong and coordinated are less likely to be injured than those who are unstable, have weaknesses and struggle with coordination.
2. Preparing for higher level sport in the future
Basic skills, strength and flexibility must be achieved for a child to later flourish in a chosen sport. While not all kids want to be world-class athletes, nor will they be, many of them are playing lots of sport with the hope of achieving high level goals. If this is the case, then basic strength and conditioning training from the right age can be a great step in the right direction.
3. Increased range of ability
With so many kids ‘specialising’ in a particular sport really young, burnout is a huge risk. A strength and conditioning program can make sure the child has a wide range of skills, good levels of strength and flexibility to suit a range of sports, or even a range of positions within a sport. This can make the child more versatile, again reducing their risk of injury and making the sport participation process fun.
A final word: Our Kids’ Stretch and Strength classes have been developed with age-appropriate strength and conditioning principles in mind. They are run by a physiotherapist and are geared towards developing local children who have a particular interest in one or more sports but require appropriate strength and conditioning training to prevent injury. It’s not unusual for us to see a child at the top of their sport but being held back by frequent injury.
Call (02) 89140508 to enquire about our Kids’ Stretch and Strength classes at Max Sports Physiotherapy Clinic. Visit www.maxsportsphysio.com.au for further information or email us firstname.lastname@example.org