Boxing Blog

    Strength Training for Young (Developing) Athletes

    Hey Team,

    Rather than start with the usual thanks to our members today, I want to start with a thanks to the team of trainers at the gym.  A few months back, we decided to have a real ‘push’ on the “BOXING” part of the ‘Boxing for Fitness’ part of our training at Round 1.  Once upon a time (and the gym has been open nearly 10-years) our facility was a ‘true’ boxing for fitness gym – each session was based around bag work, pad work, skipping and body weight movement.  As our sessions evolved, as we worked to change our circuit every single day – some of this was lost to the point where the boxing content has been seen as a ‘rest’ for a lot of our clients.

    So.  We have been making a real push to re-integrate padwork and boxing technique into our sessions where possible – you will have noticed that most afternoon sessions together with Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings in particular, the trainers have had the focus pads out ‘in force’.  These little one-on-one efforts are really challenging physically – which can only be good – as well as providing a great deal of assistance with regards to technique.  It has however been a real mindset shift for our trainers – many of whom have skills and specialities in ‘other areas’ of training – yet they have all embraced it and are becoming more and more comfortable in holding pads, working one-on-one with you guys and it has been great to see.  The guys all came together as a team last Saturday afternoon to work as a group on their technique, develop some combos to use with the pads and I think that was a great initiative/commitment for them to show.  Really makes me proud of the team we have working at the gym – coming in on a Saturday afternoon in ‘holiday season’ for $0 in order to provide a better service?  So good.

    I wrote a couple of weeks ago about our plans for the gym for 2020 – the upcoming beach day, the SPARTA sessions that will kick off in February…and I mentioned in that note the somewhat uncertain future of the Developing Athlete Program.  I am going to write a little more about DAP today – and particularly the ‘time’ conundrum that everyone is dealing with in terms of getting their kids to the gym.

    First off, DAP was put together (read more about it here: because well, parents kept telling me that their kids needed a way to get ‘fit enough’ to run the game out in the last quarter…they need something so that they wont get ‘pushed off the ball’ so easily.  The need to do some strength work because the kids in ‘insert name of another suburb of Perth where they drink the same water/eat the same food as the kids in our team’ are just ‘so much bigger.  Whatever sport is played in your family – netball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, soccer – the story seems the same.  ANYWAY – Fast forward just a little bit.

    The parents who have those conversations – they sign their kids up for DAP but then a few months later, they leave the program because their kid just doesn’t have time to do the program.  Between basketball, football, school, computer games and whatever else, there simply isn’t enough time to get to the gym and complete the sessions.

    I hear this pretty much every week.  I would say it was an argument except I don’t argue about it – I just process the program cancellation and move on.  I hear similar things to ‘not enough time’ all the time including such old favourites as “It’s too hard to prepare my food for the week” and “We eat pasta 3-4 times every week because that’s all the kids will eat” and “It’s too hard getting to the gym in the morning – I need my sleep” and, well, I guess there doesn’t really need to be an “AND” because you get the idea.  We always seem to KNOW what we need to do yet we often fail to take action.  Most of the time, I think we GENUINELY want to do the right thing – but when push comes to shove it is ‘easier’ to push the snooze button and tell yourself that “Don’t worry – you can go to the gym after work” than it is to jump out of bed when the alarm sounds…after all, you can always rinse and repeat on the excuses when you are driving home from work later that day – Afterall, the precedent has been set!

    Anyway, just as I am pretty sure we all know that eating pizza and drinking beer is not the weight loss secret the world has been waiting for, I am pretty sure we all know that if we ‘WANT’ our kids to get stronger/faster in order to become more capable on the sporting field then NOT getting them to the gym isn’t exactly the best plan for their development.  And I KNOW they are busy and I KNOW that you are busy.  I have kids.  They play sport.  I have a wife who works full-time.  I work full-time.  I also coach a state level sports team 3x per week.  But if things are IMPORTANT to you, then you make time and get organised.

    If this all sounds like I am yelling, I’m actually not.  What I am is a bit frustrated – the athletes who regularly attend the sessions are making massive improvements.  And it isn’t just about results – it is also about being ‘strong’, ‘conditioned’ and ‘resilient’.  Professional athletes play their sport usually once per week for six months of the year.  We all have our kids playing multiple sports – some are in 2-3 teams for the same sport! – and playing games 12-months (ok – maybe 11 ½ months!) of the year.  My 13yo plays 2x games of basketball every week OUTSIDE of school.  Then add footy to that from March-September.  Then add school sport.  He would play 100+ games of organised sport each year (and it is probably closer to 150!).

    Do you think he needs to be strong and conditioned to get through that and perform well?  100% he does.  Just like professional athletes do strength training 12-months of the year, our Developing Athletes need to do the same if they want to avoid injury and be able to perform at a consistent level.  Further, “OVERUSE” injuries are incorrectly named.  They don’t mean you are doing ‘too much’.  What they mean is you are doing ‘too much’ of the same thing…OR, even worse, doing ‘something’ when coming off a base of ‘ZERO’ (runners knee, jumpers knee, shin splints etc).  These are the sort of injuries that following a structured strength program help avoid.

    As a footy coach, let me tell you that when you tell me your kid is a great kick of the footy, the one thing he/she needs to do in order to improve his/her game is practice his/her kicking.  He isn’t as good a kick as you think and he/she 100% isn’t as good a kick as he/she thinks.  The same comment goes for the skill fundamentals for any and every sport they are involved in – and time spend on fundamentals is the first main difference between elite programs and lower levels.  The SECOND main difference is the emphasis on strength work and I would urge you all to understand that young athletes cannot go wrong by getting strong.  Whether they are following the Developing Athletes program at the gym or you are working with them at home, well, they need to be doing some strength work.

    The physical benefits of being stronger are simply boundless.  Even if you set aside the physical benefits of being stronger – sprinting speed, balance, ability to change direction, ability to apply and receive force whilst maintaining posture and position – think of the mental benefits.  The confidence that KNOWING you are stronger and faster than your opponent brings, the way you stand a bit taller, think positively about your ability to impact on the contest…

    Anyway, I’ve gone on enough about this.  But remember that if things are important, then you CAN find a way to make them happen.  And there is no point in ‘talking about’ arranging some strength training for your son/daughter as the footy/soccer/netball/rugby season rounds into finals – it will be TOO LATE.  And there is no point in talking about how ‘YOUR’ team fatigues in the second half once the season has started…that stuff is addressed BEFORE the season then MAINTAINED throughout the season.

    Anyway – like I said at the start of the last paragraph, I have gone on more than enough about this.  Consistent training brings results (actually, consistent ANYTHING brings results!) and if you want to give your kids a head start in their athletic careers, then think about a structured strength training session for them.

    See you in the gym,




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