Training Youth Athletes & Injury Prevention
Participation in organized sport among children and adolescents in the US is rapidly increasing.
According to the CDC, close to 30 million children and adolescents participate in sport, and the statistics regarding sport injuries for this population are staggering:
- More than 3.5 million kids under 14 years of age receive medical treatment each year
- An estimated 2 million injuries with 500, 000 physician visits and 30, 000 hospitalizations occur among high school age athletes
- Nearly half of all injuries reported for middle school and high school athletes are due to repetitive overuse
- 21% of all traumatic brain injuries (TBI) for children in the US is related to sport and recreational activities
- Over the last 20 years, there has been a fivefold increase in the number of serious shoulder and elbow injuries among youth softball and baseball players
What's happening out there?
Too often, youth athletes are led to sport specificity too soon.
As a parent, are you doing all that you should and can do for your adolescent athlete (e.g. between the ages of 10-19 years old) to be successful now during her/his developmental ‘training’ years?
More specifically, are you providing her/him with opportunities to develop a foundation for creating healthy movement patterns that can prevent injury(-ies)?
Your young athlete needs to focus on these three fundamental basics:
- Motor learning
- Motor coordination
- Nervous system development
The WHERE and HOW we apply the above within the training program for the youth athlete starts with the following:
Education - exposing your youth athlete to how the human body functions mechanically and having them experience proper body movement patterns creates a strong foundation to preventing injuries. The GOAL: heighten your youth athlete’s body awareness and create more efficient movement patterns.
Awareness – youth and adolescent athletes are not mini-adults and biological development can vary immensely within the same age or even within 1-2 years difference. Because they are still physically growing, the risk of injury is greater than adults (e.g. growth plate, tendinopathy, sprains/strains). Youth bodies are not often able to meet the physical demands of their sport or the physical training demands of their coaches.
Motor learning/control, coordination and nervous system development of youth athletes are constantly being challenged as their body adapts and changes in length, weight, and width impacting levers and forces applied and dissipated within the body.
For example, we don’t teach our children to run and jump before they can stand and balance.
The same principles apply when teaching youth athletes on how to move their body in space:
- Movement with stability and control
- Acceleration and deceleration of the body with proper form linearly and non-linearly
- How to change direction and/or fall properly
Red Dot Fitness’s youth fitness program is designed to safely and efficaciously help your young athlete perform better in sport and life.
Personal Trainers / Coaches at Red Dot Fitness in San Jose, California, understand human movement, age-appropriate progressive training principles (e.g. frequency, load, intensity, velocity), biological maturity, and the physiological and psychosocial individuality of adolescents.
Both our staff and community foster a safe, fun and empowering environment where adolescents can navigate and experience the “gym space” without intimidation and/or what some may refer to as, “gym-barrassment”: quite possibly the most important principals of any youth training or sporting endeavour.