With school back and winter sport season just around the corner, I wanted to write a quick post today about our Developing Athlete’s Program, why we run it and how young athletes benefit from regular participation in a structured S&C Program.
First off – WHY? Why do we run a S&C program for teenagers? I mean, we do u18-memberships for less than adult memberships and we allocate an hour each day at a ‘KEY’ time-slot (4pm – when the boxing gym is cranking) to a Developing Athletes program. It certainly isn’t a money making venture so what actually IS IT?
Well – I guess the short answer is I love that kids get involved in sport…and I love the fact that we are in a position to help them improve physically – become faster and stronger, develop better balance, be able to accelerate quickly and stop on a dime…and then obviously head out onto the field and crush the opposition! (I really like that part and love watching the kids from the teams in our local area performing well!). What else? I love the confidence the program gives them – I always hate hearing from parents things like “You should have seen the size of the kids from the other team”, or “The other team were so aggressive – you could see our kids worried about getting in the way”…the physical training the kids do in the gym gives them a confidence in their own physicality – they KNOW they are strong and it shows in their play. Somehow, after a few months in a program like DAP the ‘other kids’ don’t seem so big and it shows in the way they go about playing the game!
Getting down to brass tacs, here are some specific ways that strength training can benefit young athletes on the field:
Increased muscle mass: Strength training leads to an increase in muscle mass, which can improve an athlete’s ability to generate force and power, leading to improved performance in activities such as running, jumping and throwing.
Parents: This means the kids don’t get pushed off the ball!
Improved power: Strength training helps increase an athlete’s ability to generate power, which is the ability to produce force quickly. This can help improve an athlete’s speed, agility, and explosiveness on the field.
Parents: This looks like the kids are FIRST to the ball.
Improved endurance: Strength training can also improve an athlete’s ability to maintain their strength and power for longer periods of time, leading to improved endurance on the field.
Parents: This looks like kids who can still execute their SKILLS under fatigue late in the game.
Reduced risk of injury: Strength training can help to improve the stability and durability of joints, tendons, and ligaments, which can help to reduce the risk of injury.
Parents: This looks like kids getting crunched in a tackle, but bouncing up. Kids being able to keep their FEET under pressure and not suffering ankle, knee, hip and back issues.
Improved body composition: Strength training can help to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat, leading to a more favorable body composition and improved overall fitness.
Parents: Unfortunately this means kids (primarily boys) spending an excessive amount of time flexing in the bathroom mirror.
Improved confidence and mental focus: Regular strength training also improve an athlete’s confidence and mental focus, which can help them perform better on the field.
Parents: This means kids who approach the game with confidence – they KNOW they can do it which enables them to concentrate on playing the game rather than worrying about what could go wrong.
What else? Well it’s important to remember that the program the kids follow should be focussed on becoming strong and ATHLETIC, not on ‘getting them fit’ or just randomly lifting weights. This is why the program we run for Developing Athletes – including sprinting, change of direction work, consistent warm-ups that the athletes can ‘get right’ – are not the same as the Functional Fitness classes we operate for adults. Different focus areas, different outcomes. ANYONE can go to the gym and follow a program they downloaded from Mens Health (actually, that Wolverine Body program looks pretty cool). But last I checked not too many Wolverines were participating in Under 15’s Netball, Football, Hockey, Soccer, Lacrosse, Rugby, Water Polo etc.
Does anything get me frustrated about youth sports? Well…of course it does. Primarily the belief that just doing more ‘training’ will somehow make them better. I continue to see netballers and basketballers in particular completing 3-4x sport specific training sessions and playing in multiple games each week…but they don’t have time to get faster and stronger? I see footballers and soccer players enrolling in additional programs, playing games mid-week AND on weekends…but they don’t have time to get faster and stronger. And then I look at the program of a professional athlete – and every single one of them (without exception) is following a structured S&C program…yet somehow the kids yet to progress to that level are too busy with other things to do it…It’s a frustration. Twice per week is all I ask!
Plus, those ‘useless’ teenagers hanging around your house (well, hanging in their bedrooms in your house) sucking up all your WiFI…after a bit of real S&C training they’ll be the perfect candidate to help move furniture around, assist with anything ‘physical’ in the garden AND (of course) help open random jars in the kitchen!
See you in the gym,
We know this can be a daunting time. You’re probably wondering if we really are the right fit for each other. And it’s OK! Many people before you, have felt the same, and that’s why we want to offer you something special – our $29 Health Check.
Let’s work out together to see if we’re the right fit. Just hit the button below to let me know if you’re ready to see what’s included.