Chances are that you know, have, or were a youth athlete. Chances also are that you know, have, or were a youth athlete that got injured while playing youth sports. The American College of Sports Medicine’s statement on Youth Strength Training says:
The goal of youth strength training should be to improve the musculoskeletal strength and general fitness of children and adolescents while exposing them to a
variety of safe, effective and fun training methods. Strength training should be one part of a wellrounded fitness program that also includes endurance, flexibility, agility and skill-building exercises. Properly designed and competently supervised youth strength training programs may not only increase the muscular strength of children and adolescents, but may also enhance motor fitness skills (e.g., sprinting and jumping) and sports performance. Research
evidence indicates that participation in a well-rounded fitness program that includes strength training may also decrease the incidence of some sports-related injuries by increasing the strength of tendons, ligaments and bone.
What is Youth Sports Performance at Change the Game?
Youth Sports Performance is something new to many parents and athletes. It’s a type of training that SHOULD be geared toward preventing injury in our youth athletes as they pursue a greater level of competitive work and throughout every stage of development. At Change the Game we aim to reduce the risk of injury for our youth athletes by encouraging proper training that helps them build a base of stability, balance, and core control BEFORE they start lifting. We know the many benefits of lifting weights for athletes of all sports, but we also understand that an injury at a young age can cause a host of problems down the line and into adulthood.
This is why every youth athlete in our Sports Performance Training program receives BASELINE TESTING before we begin programming or training. Baseline testing allows our coaches and clinicians to assess the athlete where they are and determine the next steps in their programming journey.
What happens during Baseline Testing?
For our youth athletes Baseline Testing can include:
- Range of Motion (ROM) tests for flexibility
- Single Leg Movements to assess balance and coordination
- Agility drills for balance, coordination, and reaction time
- Sprint testing for speed
- And a general movement screen in the basic lift patterns to assess muscular strength and imbalances that need to be addressed before athletes are loaded during lifts
Baseline testing is a wonderful tool because athletes can be retested on these same elements regularly throughout the year to assess progress and identify areas of change for the better or worse. This is especially important when training young athletes as they are still growing and developing. Programming should be geared towards their unique abilities to further mitigate their risk of injury and a baseline profile paired with regular testing provides that information.
How is this different from a Coach’s Consult?
Baseline testing is one part of the first session for an athlete working at Change the Game. During an initial Coach’s Consult we will also assess the following:
- Goals of the athlete
- Common injuries in that sport
- Experience level
- Family time commitment
- Social and individual interactions
Youth athlete training should be geared around a foundation of success. At Change the Game we consider all elements of a youth athlete’s life to encourage multi-sport play and a strength and conditioning component that supports all they wish to achieve. We offer individual training and small group youth sports performance training options.
Q1. How do I know if my athlete needs sports performance training?
A1. Youth Sports Performance Training at Change the Game is right for all youth athletes ages middle school and up.
Q2. What does a typical coaching session look like?
A2. Training sessions can vary depending on the athlete’s goals and the sport they play. After the coach’s consultation, the Head Strength and Conditioning coach will give you a brief rundown as to how the program will be set up for the athlete.
Q3. Is it better for my athlete to do individual or group training?
A3. It depends on the athlete, their level of interest, skill, and commitment. It also depends on if they are in season or out of season and where the athletes in our current groups are developmentally and during their seasons. The only way to get a good feel for what the best option is would be to start with the Coach’s Consult.