Everyone is looking for the edge for their young athletes to get into college or to simply succeed in their chosen sport or life. Of course, as parents, folks want to give their youngins whatever they can to help them succeed and get ahead. This leads well intended decisions like, joining 3 different teams of the same sport, getting a personal coach for the sport, and sometimes getting a strength & conditioning coach. All this to go along with school, other sports, other extracurricular activities and just trying to enjoy being a kid.
I’m not against keeping the youths busy, busy kids usually keep themselves out of trouble to some extent at the very least. When youth or high school athlete’s schedules get over packed though, what do you think is the most valuable thing they can keep on their schedules? Of course, school and a few diversifying, non-athletic activities should make the cut before anything else.
The first thing that is likely going to get eliminated from a busy schedule of school, strength training, speed work, and practices & games for 3 different teams, is what? Speed work and strength training 9 times out of 10 and I’d really like to know folk’s logic to this. I find this to be a poor decision.
Strength training, even a mediocre plan, is designed to cut back injuries and make the body more resilient. When a young athlete is basically practicing and playing until they fall over, do you think eliminating something that is supposed to prevent such a thing is the wisest of decisions? Also, do we remember the conversation about overuse injuries cropping up in young athletes that do the same sport year-round and/or for 3 different teams?
Let’s just look at 1 particular type of injury, muscle pulls. They tend to be long lingering annoying injuries and of course, nobody wants to see their young athlete come out of the competition with one of those. I will make the case, if you really don’t want that, the player needs to sprint more than just in their games and probably needs some sort of preventative measures built into them. The place to sprint outside of competition and build up resistance to such are in a weight room and with Strength & Conditioning coaches more often than not.
The order I myself would chop things from a busy schedule is above. Hey what do I know? I’m not a parent so take this for what it’s worth. I speak from what I’ve seen in my time as a coach from both sides of the situation (sport and S&C).
I do hope that this at least makes sense, finds a few of you nodding to some degree, even if it’s slightly and perhaps wanting to further discuss this. Any other questions or comments, please feel free to reach out and we can have such a discussion. In the meantime, I appreciate everyone taking time to read this and I have you have a great rest of your week.
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS