Freeman Cebu Sports

Fundamentals of youth fitness

EVERY POUND COUNTS - Alan G. Choachuy - The Freeman

The direction of some young athletes today is often dictated on what their parents failed to achieve during their younger years. However, there are certain side effects if a kid focuses on just a single sport at an early age. Among them are injuries on excessive use of certain muscles groups or joints. Injuries can occur from overtraining, unsafe techniques, and heavy resistance without foundational strength. Sometimes, coaches and even the players themselves cannot differentiate fatigue and acute pain.

Components of Youth Fitness: Aerobic conditioning muscle and bone strengthening and flexibility.

Kids need to establish fundamental movement and fitness skills before sport-specific skills and conditioning. Motor-based movement skills include squatting/bending, lunging, pushing, pulling and rotating. Dynamic balance involves control Center of Gravity, base of support, coordination, dynamic mobility, agility, quickness, acceleration and speed.

Classification of age ranges for developing conditioning programs.

At 7-9 years old

• Kids should focus on general conditioning and movement skills; promote general play and activity.

• Teach fundamental movement skills like running, jumping, skipping, and throwing.

• Introduce bodyweight exercises such as pull-ups, pushups or full sit-ups.

• Develop general skills in a fun and games atmosphere. This age group has short attention span.

At 10-12 years old

Kids can now focus on introducing specific skills to general conditioning program like change of direction, acceleration, catching, establish and enhance general fitness base.

•Some may recommend using light weights, dumbbell, medicine balls but I would rather use body weight and resistant band instead.

•Specific exercise can be incorporated such as running stairs, jump rope, or jogging this age group is more competitive so timed drills are important.

At 13-16 years old and up

•Introduce sport-specific conditioning.  Athletes respond well to drills that mimic specific sports actions. Focus on power, explosiveness, and proper footwork.

•Identify any weaknesses during competitive season and address it during the off-season conditioning which may include participation in other sports.

At the end of the day what is important is that our kids should be motivated by learning new skills, making new friends and have fun. A non sport-specific training program should complement and support these goals. Establish realistic goals and expectations for a training program. Parents should only be there to play a solid  supporting role, guide and let the their kids explore and try other sports to become the best they could possibly in their chosen field.











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