I would say roughly over the last 20 years or so, athletic development training for youth athletes has become a topic that people in the youth athlete world would consider “mainstreamed”. It is not some mysterious type of training that only a few “in-the-know” people have their athletes partake in. Whether it be speed, agility, strength, or conditioning, many athletes across the country are doing it whether it be on their own, through a private coach, or with their team.
Because I train athletes in this way for a living, I come across many parents and coaches who generally feel and know that it is a good thing for their athletes to train in this way; BUT, I must say that the answers they give me on why these athletes are doing this training and how often they should do it…well…let’s just say that there is no common ground among these answers, and IMO, there is a lot of misunderstanding. The most common misunderstanding’s I hear are…
- my son/daughter needs to get faster for their upcoming tryout next week
- my son/daughter hasn’t done anything the last 3 months and needs to get in great shape for their upcoming season that starts in a few weeks
- our team is slow. We have no team speed, we have 2 games left in our season. What can we do to get faster for those games?
- for some reason, the players that we get here are weak. I don’t know why that is. It must be the water. We need to get stronger and we need to do so in a hurry
I definitely can relate to those above points. When you coach as long as I have, those situations can definitely exist..The only problem I have with those points is what the messenger is asking for as a solution. Most of the time, parents and coaches are looking for a quick fix answer. I could tell you with 100% certainty that in this industry, there is no such thing as a quick fix. There can definitely be quick improvements being made, but to get to a desired level that is lofty, it takes a long term approach to do that.
Let’s spend a bit of time talking about the WHY’S of youth athletic development training….
- to teach athletes proper movement patterns and how the body works
- to teach athletes a solid foundation of the skills of athleticism that they will have for the rest of their sports career and lives
- to get athletes to understand concepts such as movement efficiency, body control, and movement coordination
These things don’t have a finish line. Initially, improvements can me made in these areas by the athlete, but mastery of them only comes with a plan to work on them consistently over a long period of time.
Which leads me to my next point I get asked….How often should my son/daughter do this type of training? I’ll be honest with you…that is a difficult question to give you a concrete answer to. But, what I can say for sure is it shouldn’t be either extreme…ie: one week here and there OR 52 weeks a year. IMSO the sweet spot for this is somewhere right in the middle of those extremes…ie: 2 to 4 six week programs of this type of training where the athlete trains 1 to 2 days a week for roughly 40 to 45 minutes per workout. With this approach, the athletes are truly investing enough time and energy to make great improvements in all components of athletic development, but also not doing too much which could potentially lead to burnout or just overall staleness.
Parents and coaches….when it comes to athletic development training…think LONG TERM development. Yes, improvements will be made in the short term, but the PLAN “A” is to set our athletes up for success now, and also for the further out future!
If you want more guidance on the proper plan for your athlete, visit my website page… http://getathletic.net/eliteathleticdevelopment/ to get your athlete registered for my Elite Athletic Development Program. Also, if you are looking for a product that explains my athletic development program in great detail, please visit the following page….http://getathletic.net/youthathletetraining/ and get access to a system that has been proven time and time again to be a terrific asset for the athletic development of all youth athletes who have taken part in it.