Age Appropriate Athlete Training
for Young Athletes
It is sometimes difficult to
determine if a child lacks the necessary coordination or if there is a
delay in their physical development. Either are likely to result in
not being good at sports. There are a combination of physical,
emotional, and chemical
milestones that can be indicative of a child's ability to be successful
a particular sport or activity. Coaches and parents
should be aware of these milestones and use this information in guiding
their children towards
a positive sport experience.
The child's personality may
influence if they prefer to participate in individual or team sports.
Their physical height, size, and weight may determine if they are
interested in contact or non-contact sports.
Over Training results in Overuse
The drive to being a winner is
resulting in an increasing number of young athletes suffering from
overuse injuries. What is
happening occurs at the cellular level and does not present itself like
a bruise or broken bone. An MRI may be required to confirm the need for
To prevent pediatric overuse
injuries requires an approved training plan for each specific sport.
Such guidelines need to be displayed at the training site to educate
parents and athletes. Such information also serves to remind coaches of
the need to be alert to individuals who are exceeding recommended
training and thus increasing the risk for injuries from occurring
throughout a training and competitive season.
program is key for young athletes U-T San Diego June 12, 2012
More than 40 million kids in
the United States are now involved in organized athletics, according to
the National Council of Youth Sports. Many of them have parents on the
sidelines who are their biggest supporters.
raising young athletes today comes with a unique set of challenges.
There are many myths circulating in the public about the best ways to
help kids excel in sports. And despite the best intentions, it's easy
for parents to head down a path that may ultimately do more harm than
Learning the facts about the following key areas can help foster a
healthier youth sports experience.
Age considerations. Starting a child's sports career at an early age
may seem like a smart way to get ahead. But research shows that
beginning very young – age 4 or sooner – provides no benefit to future
sports performance and may contribute to injuries and burnout. Kids
build their sports skills in a progressive sequence that can't be
dramatically sped up, no matter how early, often or hard they train.
Motor skills such as balance and running don't fully develop until age
6 or 7, while the ability to visually track moving objects doesn't
mature until age 8 or 9.
Lifting weights. Working out with moderate weights usually starts to
provide the most strength benefits once kids reach puberty (age 13 to
15 for boys, 11 to 13 for girls). This is when they have the hormones
to allow their muscles to get significantly bigger and stronger. By
this time, many kids will have had ample time to refine their
technique, so the strength can be put to effective use. Before puberty,
some low-weight strength training may be done – but only for purposes
of injury prevention and always under careful adult supervision. Heavy
weights should be avoided until kids have gone through most of their
pain. When muscle and joint pain arises, some parents will give their
kids anti-inflammatory medications before practices or games so they
don't miss any playing time. The problem is, these medications only
block the chemical process that produces inflammatory pain, so
continuing the activity simply puts more stress on the already injured
tissue. By masking important symptoms, kids run the risk of
experiencing more extensive injuries and more time away from the
action. Ice is preferable to anti-inflammatories as a first-line
treatment for pain after injury or activity.
Dietary demands. Eating the right balance of nutritional foods can
improve athletic performance. But maintaining a healthy diet is often
challenging, so many people try to fill the gap by taking
multivitamins. Despite their convenience, vitamin tablets simply cannot
replicate the healthy nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. The
benefits of eating healthy include stronger bones and muscles, improved
oxygen delivery, a more robust immune system and better ability to
recover for the next workout. When it comes to keeping hydrated during
play, water is usually adequate. With sustained activity that lasts 90
minutes or more, kids can benefit from replacing their electrolytes and
glucose with a sports drink.
- Dr. Paul Stricker, is a former U.S. Olympic team physician
a sports medicine pediatrician with
Paul Stricker :: Youth Sports Medicine Specialist
athletes feel more pain, no gain ... Dr. Paul Stricker is one of less
than 200 doctors in the US who is board certified in both sports ...
Dr. Paul has been featured on ESPN and news programs, and has been
cited in national ... children develop and what physical skills are
achievable and appropriate for each age group.
TEN QUESTIONS - Dr. Paul Stricker
required part of a
training program at young ages, and if employed, athletes should never
use athletic supplements in an effort to enhance their performance.
& Pearls of Fracture Management
La Jolla, CA.
with fractures whole different ball game than adults !” This was
of the take home messages provided by Dr. Paul Stricker during
PDF Young athletes feel
more pain, no gain
“You're show that
athletes kick in at age 13 or 14.” Dr. Paul Stricker, an associate
professor at Children's Hospital of San Diego and physician for the ...
program at Children's Heathcare of Atlanta. “Of the 15 kids I saw ...
“There are more and more parents telling their kids, good and if you
work hard you might get a
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