Do to the ultra competitiveness of youth sports today
every parent and coach is always looking for ways to help their young
athlete(s) get an edge over their competition. Unfortunately most trainers, parents,
and coaches are trying to train their young athletes by mimicking the workouts
of their professional idols. While the workouts that most professional athletes
do are very precise and scientifically sound, this doesn’t mean that it is what
is most optimal for our youth.

Most professional athletes are very sound athletes. They got this way by learning and mastering the basic
fundamentals of athleticism. This was done through proper training or “training
with a purpose”. To become an efficient and proficient athlete you must “train
with a purpose” allow me to explain.

Let’s say a young athlete wants to become a better shooter in basketball. Most young athletes think that
the way to achieve this is by joining a travel basketball team in the off-season
and play 4-5 games every weekend. Although playing a game of Basketball can
help one’s play, it may not help him/her with his/her shooting. When playing a
game the object is to win, it is very hard to improve on a skill (shooting)
with the added pressure of winning. Instead of playing in tournaments or
picking up games at the local gym, the young athlete would be better advised by
going to a court, and spend time working on the fundamentals of shooting. After
all if their shooting technique is less then optimal, all they will be doing by
playing is reinforcing that poor technique.

The same holds truth when pertaining to athleticism. If a young athlete demonstrates poor speed and
agility, do to inefficient movement, running through ladders and cones while
having a coach yelling at them to do it faster isn’t going to improve their
speed and agility. Another example would be, having a young athlete who
demonstrates poor running mechanics, running while pulling a weighted sled or
being attached to resisted tubing. The practice time would be better served by
going over the skills and basic fundamentals of multi-directional speed, and
proper running. Check out my blog on multi-directional speed here.
This is an example of “training with a purpose”.

In today’s microwave society we all want our young athletes to turn into superstars overnight.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the best way to become an elite athlete. It takes
time and practice. We need to get away from the notion of spending all of our
time playing in tournaments year round, putting our young athletes through “pro
style” workouts, and spend more time on improving ones skills and mastering the
fundamentals. After all, when a child is between the ages of 7-14 that is the
best time for the body to grasp all of the motor skills needed to become an
ultimate athlete.  The only way to accomplish this is through a process called Long Term Athletic Development.
This is where you take the time to master the basics before progressing to more
advance and complex drills and exercises.

If you are interested in learning more on how Long Term Athletic Development, can help your young
athlete achieve his or her full athletic potential please check out,
or call (704) 841-4403.

Til next time,

Coach George

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