5 REASONS WHY STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING IS IMPORTANT AT YOUTH LEVEL
By Renee Reinecke, Sports Scientist
- Preparation for the future
Youth physical development should take age, growth, maturity and training level into account. We need to develop well rounded athletes. Strength and conditioning training has a significant role in ensuring that young athletes become more coordinated, stable and strong as they advance through their athletic careers. It is imperative that young athletes are proficient in movement basics so that their platform for growth and development continues along an upward trend.
- Reduced injury risk
As modern research reveals, strength and conditioning make developing athletes more resistant to injury. A higher level of motor control and understanding how your body moves in space provides a deeper awareness and control over injury prevention. Strategies to develop a strong and stable core are important in lowering the risk of injury.
- Increases in strength
The ability to coordinate movement and to efficiently recruit muscles in synchronized action are two of the main reasons for the strength improvements. As children age, this is a natural pattern of development. Introducing a strength training program at an early age is an important step in the development process. Stronger athletes perform better, are more trainable and have the most long-term success.
- Smaller incidence of burnout or overspecialization
Optimally, specialization should be held off until adolescence so that the athlete has time to develop a large majority of “fundamental movement skills” before “sport specific skills” (Joyce, 2014). It is the strength and conditioning coach’s responsibility to make sure the youth athlete is proficient in all planes and direction of movement. All youth athletes should be exposed to multiple sports and modes of physical activity to develop robustness and reaction to forces applied to the body.
- More enjoyment in movement and physical activity
Strength and conditioning is a way to learn how to positively impact movement quality through mobility and movement training. The better you are at performing movements i.e., moving well with no pain; the more likely you are to continue these movements and enjoy them.