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Sports Performance Training for Youth Athletes

I have to say, I am really pumped this week.  I just found out that two of my players that have been training with me over the last year have received some great accolades.  With that in mind, I would like to take the time to congratulate Chris Tsatsis for being selected to the CHSAA Brooklyn Queens “A” All League Team and Kaitlyn Borghese for being selected to Monmouth Ocean County Parochial Basketball League All Star Game.  Both Chris and Kaitlyn have been committed to taking their games to the NEXT level through basketball skill development workouts and sports performance training.  This comitment has really shown in their play on the basketball court and consequently they have been rewarded appropriately for their hard work.  Great job Chris and Kaitlyn keep up the good work.

Now, on to today’s subject of training youth athletes.  The question is posed to me all of the time, “Is it okay for my son/daughter to be working out at a young age?”  My answer is always a resounding, “Yes…if done properly.”  Obviously, the key to this is the, “…if done properly part.”  Studies today have shown that athletes can show benefits from sports performance training as young as seven years old (believe it or not, I have worked with a seven year old).  Under the supervision of a trained professional and by choosing the correct exercises,  results can absolutely be produced and these athletes will see improvements in their overall health, sports performance, and confidence.   The key is choosing the correct exercises, adhering to strict form, and making it fun. 

All of the youth athletes that come through Elite Sports Performance (the sports performance training branch of Elite Basketball Training, LLC) are first evaluated based on their general physical preparedness.  This evaluation includes tests for speed, agility, core strength, upper body pushing and pulling strength, and much more.  Based on this evaluation, a program is the developed to improve the areas of weakness for that athlete as well as their overall physical performance.  This is not much different from my older athletes however, in the case of the youth athletes, the choice for their main exercises differs.  In the case of all of the youth athletes at Elite Sports Performance their initial programs consist primarily of body weight exercises.  An example of some of these body weight exercises can be seen in this video below:

 

*Please note that this athlete is very strong for his age (he holds the pushup record of 73 in a row for my gym) and easier variations of these exercises can be performed.

Youth athletes  must master their own body weight before they are allowed to progress to the use of weights (medicine balls then actual bars, kettlebells, and dumbells). 

One of the major concerns for parents who seek sports performance training for their young athlete is the risk of injury.  Injuries often occur, not as a result of the athlete’s age but because failed instruction on correct form.  Strict attention must be paid to their form during this developmental age.  Primarily because poor form can cause injury.  Furthermore, these athletes have most likely never lifted before therefore and they can be taught the correct way to to perform the movements leading to benefits in the long run. 

Finally, it is important to remember that these are afterall just kids.  With that in mind, there may be days that they are pumped up to be there and others where they are simply there because Mom and/or Dad made them go. Either way, it is important to keep the program and the atmosphere fun.  Develop a relationship with these athletes and let them know that you care and that you are there to make them better.  Furthermore, make the workouts competive and lively.  Use games like “Tag” or a relay race as speed and agility or conditioning drills.  Doing so will keep the atmosphere light and eliminate the feeling of working out.

In today’s time, working out in a well designed sports performance program is not only acceptable for young athletes, but in many cases, recommended.  The key to designing this program is choosing the correct exercises in particular bodyweight exercises.  Once the correct exercises have been chosen, it is imperative that there be a strict adherence to form. Doing so will ensure that the athletes avoid injury and learn the proper form for more difficult lifts in the future.  Finally, making the program fun is a key factor for the young athletes.  It will lighten the mood of the workout and ensure that they keep coming back.  Following these parameters will improve the athlete’s overall fitness, their sports performance, and their confidence, and will ultimately go a long way towards building the fundamental base these athletes need to be successful in their sports as they become more competitive.     

Let us know what you all think about sports performance training for youth athletes by writing in the comments section below, and of course, if you are part of the Elite Basketball Training family and you have had success on the court this season please email me personally at rstoner42@gmail.com so that I can personally congratulate me on my blog. 

If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to get your hands on the hottest product on the market at www.basketballspeedandagility.com and increase your speed, agility and quickness on the court.

Committed to taking your game to the NEXT level.

Rich Stoner

Elite Basketball Training, LLC


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