The Process of Learning
Hosted by

San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization

Age Appropriate Athlete Training

Programs 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 at 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 Injuries
       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 treatment.

       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.

Age appropriate 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.

        But 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 good.

        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 rapid growth.

• Treating 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.

Source - Dr. Paul Stricker, is a former U.S. Olympic team physician
and a sports medicine pediatrician with Scripps Clinic.

Recommended Reading

Dr. Paul Stricker :: Youth Sports Medicine Specialist   Young 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.

PDF TOP TEN QUESTIONS - Dr. Paul Stricker required part of a sport training program at young ages, and if employed, athletes should never use athletic supplements in an effort to enhance their performance.

PDF   Pitfalls & Pearls of Fracture Management   La Jolla, CA. “Athletic kids with  fractures whole different ball game than adults !” This was one of the take home messages provided by Dr. Paul Stricker during

PDF  Young athletes feel more pain, no gain “You're show that the real 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


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Skill Development Environment:

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

Athlete Concerns     Collection of Related Ideas    Skating Articles    Related Topics      

Ice Skating Rink Index    Topic Index    Site Index   Home Page