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Training Priorities
   
A Starting Point
      Public schools start children in their first classes according to age. Promotion progresses according to the students meeting specific minimum levels of knowledge according to a standardized national performance norm testing in math, english, spelling, science, etc.

      Sports are not a requirement for graduation, but the The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) has established standards of fitness in 5 different events in the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.  Unfortunately the minimum standards for fitness are not a part of the daily public school classes until junior and senior high school grades. Even then the standards are not given enough importance.

       The Physical Fitness Test will no longer be available after the 2012–2013 school year. Get up to speed with the new health based assessment from the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.   PDF  President's Challenge Qualifying standards The Presidential Physical Fitness Award. Participants must at least reach the minimum level in their age group for all 5 events in order to qualify for the national Physical Fitness Award.


Participation in Organized Sports and Recreational Activities Requires Establishing Priorities

      Participating in sports and recreational activities should provide a positive an individual with a positive experience. Children should participate only if they enjoy the practicing and the competitive nature of the sport or activity. Their participation should NEVER be to fulfill the ambitions of their parents or to achieve their dreams that they could not accomplish.

      Parents, coaches, and athletes should should strive to achieve the following goals:
  • Fun
  • Fitness
  • Sportsmanship
  • Ethics
  • Social Development
Participating in Sports Involves Leadership
      There is a lack of leadership in today's youth. Team and individual sports, recreational activities, and in school should serve as an environment to develop leadership.

      Are leaders are born, developed, or a combination of both? Anyone can strive to improve to their leadership skills. The traits of a successful leader should apply to athletes and coaches at every level.

      There are five traits that contribute to effective leadership:

  • Learn From Mistakes In the classroom or as an athlete, a good leader will take calculated risks and make some mistakes along the way. Admit mistakes and Learn from them. Just don't repeat them! "Success is the result of making good decisions. Good decisions are acquired from experience and experience frequently is a result of occasional bad decisions."
  • Lead by Example There is an old adage "Do as I say, not as I do!" We expect more from our leaders and you should expect a higher standard from yourself. Hold yourself accountable by setting the example you expect of others - "Do what has to be done. Do it when it has to be done. Do it as well as you can and all of the time."
  • Compassion and empathy are an extremely important quality of leadership. Being selfish is not a characteristic of an effective leader. As an individual athlete, are you playing to do your best or do you put winning above all else.  If you are a member of a team, are you playing for the team or for yourself?
  • Attitude and Confidence Your attitude is something that can be controlled and have an influence on  everything you do with your life. A positive attitude will build confidence and a sense of self worth of your abilities. Arrogant or cockiness. is not a quality of a good leader. Confidence comes from a sound work ethic and from being prepared. If you are going into a game and don't feel prepared it's because you didn't do what was necessary to prepare!
  • High Standards
Strive to do everything to the best of your ability allows you to expect it from others if you believe your teammates and players can meet this standard. A good leader will motivate those they are leading to expect more of themselves. A leader should raise the level of expectations of everyone around you. Set the bar high and pursue those goals!

Your ability to be an effective leader will dictate your individual success or if participating in a team sport, your team's success.

Establish Priorities for Sports Participation
      There is no definitive evidence if talented athletes are born or created, Many parents truly believe, that with the right amount of training, coaching, and perseverance, their child can be an outstanding athlete. To acquire a mastery of skills in any sport is not an easy path to success, and few achieve the dream of achieving the highest level in the sport of their choice. There is an element of timing, luck, and emotion that contributes to a moment being outstanding or a complete disaster.

      While some will receive an athletic scholarship to help fund expensive post secondary education they represent only a tiny percentage of athletes who will win a spot on a university varsity level sport,  Ideally the other 99% will have enjoyed their sports experience and retain an involvement in sports for life.

Ability and Potential
      There are so many factors that impact long-term performance. Before, during, and after puberty, the physical. mental, and social growth and development, is impossible to accurately predict athletes' future performance levels.

      We are more likely to be able to identify what body types and personalities are not a good fit for certain sports. As coaches, we can help parents to control their enthusiasm, focus more time on enjoying the childhood and youth sports experience. Parents who understand the specific athletic attributes needed for a sport are more likely to seek coaches who inspire children to enjoy their athletic development as they follow tangible steps to improve their sports abilities in measurable ways.

      The goal of parents should be to encourage healthy activity for inactive kids, teach life skills, develop a long- term enjoyment of sports. If in the natural childhood development, there are indications he/she is a  gifted athlete, decisions will have to be made if there is a financially sound path to providing the training that is necessary to achieve level.

      If a child stands out at a young age, there is no guarantee that this will continue into as they become young adults. The abilities of young athletes can range from below average to exceptional. While a few may excel, most children will lose interest in participating in sports after high school.

      Organized, structured sports and scheduled activities have replaced the unorganized playing with other neighborhood children. Today parents encourage their children to embrace the specific dreams or plans they have for their children. Many young athletes are encouraged to specializing in one sport at very early ages in hopes they will become a professional athlete.

      Children who are intentionally encouraged to concentrate in a single sport will never experience a world of varied athletic experiences. This environment can ultimately limit their potential improvement and can lead to burnout. The focus childhood sports might be better served by helping young athletes develop skills they will can participate in as they grow older.

Developing Athletic Talent
      The development of abilities in any sport is a process known as an athlete development cycle.  The concept is to develop a systematic and orderly progress to achieve the highest level of his or her ability. This master plan is based on a decade or more of long-term improvements. The US Olympic Committee has conducted scientific research that has concluded that it takes a minimum of 10 years and 10,000 hours of training for a talented athlete to reach elite levels. In reality this requires more than 3 hours of training daily for 10 years.

       Over the past decade, the sports conditioning field has seen considerable growth in science and practical training alike. In the past, programs had focused on the development of sport specific skills, strategies and tactics, with most training coming from coaches during regularly scheduled team practices. Sports coaches simply mimicked the sport specific movements in the conditioning setting without paying much attention to injury prevention, overuse syndrome or overall development. Then, head coaches in some sports began enhancing the training by improving physical traits rather than just replicating specific movement patterns; for example, to improve sprinting ability, track coaches focused on leg strength, power and speed through multijoint lifts and plyometrics. Along with this trend came the use of strength and conditioning coaches who devoted their role to improving each athlete's unique physicality.

Later, as the personal fitness trainer (PFT) field grew, specialty education helped trainers working with athletes to differentiate their skill sets. Today, there are certification programs that designate PFTs as sports conditioning specialists so they can address specific sport related demands and injury epidemiology.

Athletes and coaches are constantly seeking an advantage over the competition and searching for new tools (including the intangible factors that can make the difference between winning and losing) to help them achieve this edge. There is a constant drive to go faster, jump higher and be stronger. The focus of sports conditioning goes beyond training, marking the difference between having a ripped, more fit body and eliciting peak athletic performance from a smarter, more skilled body. This is reflected in the sports conditioning workout curriculum and long-term plan.

To develop a great athlete, a sports conditioning specialist must design an exercise program that considers many unpredictable situations in which the athlete is forced to read and react to events quickly. Reaction speed and efficiency often determine an athlete's success in beating a defender, preventing a move from an offensive player or even avoiding objects (as in skiing and snow boarding). Ultimately, the ability to read a situation, react and skillfully maneuver the body could decide the outcome of a game or sporting event. Success in sports is based on the ability to move in multiple directions in a smooth and coordinated manner. Winning each "small" challenge along the way is what adds up to a final win.

Physical Aspects play a role in success in sports
      Physical size, weight, and strength plays a large part in children's sports activities because these attributes translate into advantages. Parents, coaches, and other athletes focus on physical size, strength, power, strength/power endurance, speed, quickness, agility, movement skills, deceleration, balance, reactivity, aerobic power, anaerobic capacity, flexibility, coordination, and body awareness.

      Parents and young athletes should be cautioned that each sport requires a different combination of these physical characteristics for success. Contact sports like football and ice hockey develop conditioning programs that are designed to "bulk up" the players. ,In gymnastic, swimming, and figure skating skills tend to attract individuals with slight frames and a low ratio of body fat to muscle.

      Coaches and parents need to understand that growth and development cycles suggests there are optimal windows of trainability based on age and gender. During the phases of growth and development there are specific time frames for females and males that should be areas of focus for sports conditioning coaches.

          Children ages 5-10 should focus on flexibility, sports skills, and speed. During the peak height velocity years of youth (puberty), there is an opportunity to make great improvements in aerobic capacity and speed. After puberty (ages 13—14 for females and 17—18 for males) has progressed, the focus  should include strength and conditioning to the training program.

      The Canadian Sport System integrates all athlete/sport development programs based on the Long-Term Athlete Development model developed by Istvan Balyi. This model provides an excellent summary of valuable growth, maturation and sport related research that discusses practical considerations that all sports and conditioning coaches should implement into their training. Refer to IDEA Fitness Journal to access growth and maturation moderated youth training guidelines.

       Development of the physical characteristics needed for sports success can be accomplished through the use of a variety of methods. For a focused and timely development of specific skills, an athlete can workout in a sports conditioning training center under the supervision of a certified specialist who can correct and perfect movement mechanics. The coach of the sport should provide a list of the problem areas so the trainer which can target those muscles to reduce the incidence of injury when playing the sport.

       The research shows that training and competition by yyoung athletes does not appear to accelerate or decelerate the growth and maturity as regarding height, body proportions or sexual maturation. However, there is a significant affect on body composition (decreased body fat), motor skills, aerobic power, bone mineral content and skeletal muscle development, giving athletes performance advantages and long-term health benefits. The earlier the athletes start to improve their neural and motor responses, the sooner there will be a noticeable acceleration in their progress.

      Without proper sports conditioning, physical skills inevitably will, under stress and fatigue, revert back several months with a loss of skill development. This phenomenom can occur even in athletes who are extremely well trained with excellent training programs that focus on mental and emotional attributes and stamina. In other words, some athletes don't rise to an occasion — they sink to a lower level of their training. The conclusion is to set the training standard as high as possible.

Pillars For Youth Training
      The training componets for fitness training, of all athletes of all ages, who desire to participate in sports include:
  • Movement: agility, quickness, multidirectional speed, external reaction skills, coordination, acceleration and deceleration
  • Strength: muscular, whole-body, multijoint strength; muscular endurance; explosive power; power capacity; acidosis tolerance; and recovery efficiency
  • Balance: stability, kinesthetic awareness, proprioception, neuromuscular pathways, transitional balance and internal reactivity
  • Coordination
  • Flexibility
  • Spacial Relationships
      The fitness characteristics of aerobic endurance, flexibility and body composition allow all athletes with a foundation to build their sports conditioning. The anaerobic energy systems are tied to sports conditioning.

      The question that parents should ask themselves is: "What are their expectations for their children in academic subjects equal to their expectations in sports and other activities such as playing a musical instrument, singing, acting, etc.?"
  


References:

Principles of Training Athletes:

Training Priorities for Young Athletes

Safe Training Environments  sport and to promote safe training environments ... by a range of sports organizations ... Working Group, the USOC will focus on the following priorities:

UNESCO Quality Physical Education  UNESCO is mandated to improve the quality physical education, because of its Education for All initiative, as well as its physical education and sport (PES) program and International Olympic Committee's goal of Sport for All.

Developing Course Materials:

Physical and Mental Training Considerations

Resources:

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:

Fitness Training Considerations
    
Kirkpatrick's Evaluating Training Programs
Skating Training Environment
Training Figure Skaters
Group Classes
Fitness Training
Personal Training Plan
Daily Training Plan
Seasonal Training
Training for Junior & Senior Athletes
Age Guidelines for Training
Developing a Plan for Training
Developing Skating Skills
Group Training Stages
Training Priorities
Strategies of Sports Training
Training Task Analysis
Value of Annual Planning
Competitive Training Strategies
Verbal and Nonverbal Communications
PDF  Core Body Training
PDF  Endurance Training Plan

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