Reasons Student Athletes Should Participate in a Strength and Conditioning Program
With injuries at a higher rate than ever, the need for a good strength and conditioning coach is as strong as it has ever been. Unfortunately, it is also becoming more confusing for athletes and parents of athletes to select the proper training regimen. Let’s look at some of the reasons why a robust program is critical for a young athlete.
Injury rates for young athletes are at a higher rate than ever.
Over 70% of ACL tears in the United States come from athletes between the ages of 13-18 years old.
This increase in injury rates is due, in part, by less physical activity outside of their sport. Other factors include: thinking that a sport itself will get you into shape, and specialize in one sport too soon. Lack of implementation of proper strength and conditioning programs and cross-training methods also contributes to the injury rates.
Therefore, we need to teach young athletes how to implement an effective strength and conditioning program. They need to be aware that physical fitness is, first and foremost, an effective way to reduce the risk of injury. Young athletes should be cautioned that specializing in one sport increases their risk of injury due to a continuous use of the same movement patterns. If an athlete chooses to specialize, then let them understand that cross training by implementing a strength program is even more important.
Improving Athletic Performance
Athletics at the junior high and high school level are becoming more
competitive every year. There are more opportunities for young athletes to participate in sports than ever. With that comes much more demand on the athlete to succeed. I believe that every child should have the opportunity to participate in a sport. Children should NEVER be discouraged to play a sport. Having fun and learning lifelong values such as discipline and hard work are always number one.
There is a point where the best players will move on and play at a higher level. For some, it is trying to make the JV basketball team, or earning a scholarship to a college. Talent is usually a large determining factor, but hard work always pays off! A solid strength and conditioning program will help you become stronger, faster, powerful. You will be a better-conditioned athlete for your chosen sport. Sometimes these factors can be the difference between more playing time and continuing to the next level. If an athlete is looking to improve his or her ability to earn playing time or move up to the next level, the difference is usually hard work and a solid strength and conditioning program.
Learning Physical Fitness: Life after Sports
After I graduated high school I decided not to play at the college level. As a result, I quickly realized I needed to find a way to stay in shape and stay active. I was fortunate enough to have participated in a decent strength and conditioning program in high school. That experience sparked my interest in continuing to work out and stay healthy and fit. Unfortunately, not all former student-athletes continue to remain active after their playing days. It is a very well know fact that childhood obesity is on the rise. Our current generation of kids may be the first to be outlived by their parents.
The truth is not all kids will stay in sports forever. Not every child will be able to make every team. Instead of discouraging them from staying active, we must implement other forms of exercise to keep kids from becoming sedentary. When I train young athletes, I want to give them knowledge, skills, and motivation to continue to stay active for the rest of their lives! Educating our youth about the importance of exercise for health should be the primary goal when introducing them into sports.
Correct Exercise Technique and Program Design
With so much information available about exercise, it can become quite overwhelming and confusing when deciding which exercise program is best for an athlete. That is where a qualified and educated strength and conditioning coach comes in.
•An athletic trainer is there to take care of injuries.
•Basketball or soccer coach is there to help improve the team and athlete’s basketball and soccer skills.
•The strength and conditioning coach is there to help the athlete become stronger, faster, powerful, and more resilient to injury.
A strength coaches’ first goal should always be to teach a young athlete proper exercise technique. There should always be a safe environment to train in.
A well-rounded program should consist of:
•Power drills such as plyometrics, Olympic lifts, strength training, core training, and conditioning should round out a proper training program.
In summary, a good strength and conditioning program is the best form of injury prevention and improving athletic performance. Teaching our youth that there are other types of exercise outside of sports is the key to helping them stay active and lead a healthier lifestyle.
If you are a young athlete or a parent to one, click below for more information on our Sports Performance Academy. 20 openings available for summer training!