San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Coaching Young AthletesEvery sports coach, at some time in their career, has encountered athletes who are totally immersed in a specific sport to the exclusion of other sports, and the pursuit of other activities such as school and a social life. The exact polar opposite is the talented athlete, who is so occupied with their social life, that fails to meet their responsibility to parents, sport, and school in completing assigned tasks.
Intense participation in a sport or activity is not necessarily a bad thing. Some individuals prefer to be recreational athletes who do many sports well, but do not excel in a specific sport. Others find the challenge to be attempting to be their very best at one specific sport.
Sometimes the athlete must specialize because of the very nature of their sport. For example, figure skating, gymnastics, and diving are sports that require the acquisition of specific skills that require many years to acquire and even more to perfect to the elite class level. These tasks are so sport specific that they can not be obtained through transfer from other sports.
NOTE: Presentation skills in ice skating can be developed through participation in ballet, ballroom dancing, acting, and/or playing a musical instrument.
Involvement in a single sport to the point of excluding all other sports and most other activities can occur at any age. It is generally not encouraged by trainers because of their concern that the athlete will "burn out". It is impossible to maintain a high energy training program for 52 weeks a year. A training schedule needs to build towards and peak for each specific competition or meet. Experts highly recommend The Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model.
Young athletes are physically developing, from early childhood to late adolescence. This means that male and female athletes develop at different rates. Normal growth stops when the growing ends of the bones fuse. This usually occurs between the ages of 13 and 15 for girls, and 14 and 17 for boys. The typical pattern of rate of growth for boys and girls from birth through adolescence is an important factor in the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) of a child.
Sport scientists have reported that there are critical periods in the life of a young person in which the effects of training can be maximized. They have also concluded that it can take anything from eight to twelve years of training for a talented athlete to achieve elite status. This has led to the development of athletic models, which identify appropriate training aims at each stage of the athlete's physical development.
Factors in Designing Training Programs
There are multiple factors every coach must understand when designing a training and competitive program to anticipate responses of individual athletes and teams to anticipate and unanticipated situations.
In an ideal world coaches should not have to have training in physiology, but in the real world the following factors will impact the relationships of athletes, parents, and coaches in a training environment associated with the stresses of participating in competitive sports:
Age Specific Training Guidelines
Most sports require, that an athlete's body mature for their performance to reach a level expected for high level, elite athletes. Among these sports are: basketball, football, hockey, soccer, etc. which involve a lot of physical contact, stamina, and fully developed skill sets. Other major factors necessary for amateur and professional success are optimum size and weight combined with stamina, agility, aggressiveness, and ability to play even went injured that would cause others to take themselves out of the game.
Parental involvement can be supportive or it can become excessive when athletes are encouraged to devote long hours training combined with a pervasive environment of engaging in talking only about the sport that they are involved in. There is a concerted effort to diverting the athlete's interest in other sporting interests and social activities, which are viewed diversions from the athlete's goal of success. The type of behavior is referred to as "exclusivity" by certified sports trainers.
Young children are pushed by parents and coaches to choose and specialize in the sport way before they are mature enough to do so. Up to the age of eight, children should enjoy a variety of fun and stimulating activities; they need to develop a broad base of movement skills.
Intensive training and competition at too early an age inhibits the development of skills such as balance, agility, and coordination, and it prevents youngsters from learning other sports.
Coaching Behavior Preference Thesis PDF
High School Athletic Association Sponsors PDF
Aurora City Schools Ice Hockey Program PDF
Interscholastic Middle School Sports PDF
Ice Hockey High School Program PDF
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:
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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.