SPORT – IMPORTANCE OF STRENGTH TRAINING IN YOUTH

Although at one point concerns that S&C was dangerous for youth athletes, recent research has found the opposite.  Some studies show adolescent strength increases anywhere from 40%-74% in some 8-20 week training programs.There seems to be no doubt that youth athletes can and do benefit from strength programs through means of weight training, plyometric drills, speed, agility, and interval training when properly applied.  With far too many athletes getting injured due to overuse injuries and improper physical preparation, it seems an important investment in any athlete’s career.
Listed below are 9 benefits of strength and conditioning:

#0 Mental Toughness – It is one thing to talk about mental toughness it’s another to get after it in the weight room and experience what it takes to become mentally and physically tough by using your mind to stay positive and focused on an end goal even when the body wants to quit.

#1 Injury Prevention – Well conditioned bodies are more resistant to injury whether it be acute (short term like a hamstring tear) or chronic (long term like overuse injuries).  You cannot play if you are injured.

#2 Better Performance – Resistance training enhances muscle adaptation resulting in greater muscle size, strength, power and motor skill development of trained muscles helping you muscle competition.

#3 Sustained High Level Performance: S&C prepares athletes to sustain high levels of play for the entire game when other athletes are fading mentally and physically.  Training the phosphagen system for quick bouts like sprints for baseball players is just as important as training the glycolytic system in more endurance sports like basketball, soccer, and lacrosse.

#4 Ahead of the Rest – There is no better feeling than being prepared and comfortable with technique and terms in a weight room when all the competition is learning technique for the first time.  With freshman sports programs being cut, it’s crucial to be able to make JV as a freshman.  A strong body helps!

#5 Neuromuscular Adaptation – S&C trains the mind’s ability to selectively recruit and train Type 2 muscles fibers (fast twitch) in order to produce max power and speed through explosive movements for greater performance.  In sports where a matter of inches determines success or failure…S&C prevails!

#6 Acceleration/Deceleration (especially for throwers/swimmers) – Did you know that your body can only go as fast (accelerator muscles) as you are able to slow it down (decelerators muscles)?  Many athletes only train the body to speed up while forgetting to train it to slow down (posterior chain) which leads to most hamstring and posterior should injuries.  Most arm injuries happen when the body is trying to slow down the arm.  S&C can help!

#7 Teaching Proper Recovery – Many people forget about the pre-hab of taking care of the body before and after workouts and games.  Self-myofascial Release (SMR), foam rolling, and other self-care tools are necessary for the body to fully recover and prepare for the next competition.

#8 Learn Good Habits Early – Most athletes get sloppier with their training as they age.  However, when taught the importance of preparing the body for competition at an early age, it will at least provide a good foundation moving forward.