Archive for “young” Tag

Why Olympic Lift?

 

Olympic lifting With Young Athletes

Olympic lifting young athletes
 

By Wil Fleming

 

There is a large portion of coaches that don’t think Olympic lifting has any benefits whatsoever. These coaches believe that the benefits of Olympic lifting is over blown, inflated and doesn’t really pertain to athletes. They cite the time it takes to teach athletes the lifts (too long they say), and they cite risk vs. reward (they say the risk is too great for too little reward). This post is not for those coaches, if you are one of those coaches, then I applaud you for creating more explosive, faster and more dominant athletes while not using Olympic lifts. This post is for the coaches that are using Olympic lifting or on the fence about these lifts, that need more ammunition when discussing their programs or want a final piece of the puzzle to commit to training their athletes with these lifts.

 

Type II muscle development

 

Type II (Fast twitch) muscle fiber is the golden currency for successful athletes. Greater type II muscle makes athletes more explosive, and faster. Type II muscle fibers are part of high threshold motor units and only react to high output activities, so curls with the 25 lbs dumbbells are not going to cut it. Olympic lifting uses high power movements and recruits type II muscle for activation, the more explosive movement is used the more preferentially these units will be recruited. There are movements that replicate the power output of Olympic lifts, but don’t hit on all the other great parts of Olympic lifting.

 

Improved coordination

 

The Olympic lifts are a great display of coordination and motor skill for all athletes. There is a precise control of the body that is necessary to complete these lifts. While this coordination is not identical to that required by any other sport nothing else in the weightroom is an identical match to sporting events either. This coordination does center around the hips and legs, similar to many other sporting events.

 

Improved power characteristics

 

The completion of the Olympic lifts includes full extension of the hips and knees in an explosive manner. This improvement has great carryover to hip and knee extension power in other areas of athletics. Athletes that are trained extensively in the Olympic lifts show improved rates of force development which greatly improves their power creating ability.

 

Improved force absorption

 

Often overlooked, receiving the bar overhead or at the chest requires the athlete to absorb force. This is the piece of the puzzle that can really make the Olympic lifts something that keeps athletes healthier. Most displays of power in the field of play must have a corresponding need to absorb force upon landing, Olympic lifts above other displays of power in the gym can provide this.

 

Success elsewhere

 

If you own a private facility the fact of the matter is, your high school athletes are probably doing another program at their high school. That program likely contains an Olympic lifting of some sort (probably power cleans). If you are not going to teach them how to power clean or hang clean, then you are just relying on someone else to do it for you. To give your athletes the best chance of success it is imperative that a qualified coach teaches them how to lift.

 

There are some young athletes with whom I do not use Olympic lifting with. Those athletes that have a history of back pain or back injuries would be first among them. For young athletes (12-14) I teach the Olympic lifts only as a skill, something to be improved upon by repetition not by weight used. For other athletes that are able, the Olympic lifts can serve a great role.

 

 

Sports Skill Acquisition – 5 Tips for Young Athletes

by Dr. Toby Brooks

Sports Skill Acquisition

 

As a lover of all things sport since a child, my entire life has been shaped by decisions motivated primarily by how I might continue to play or be involved in competitive athletics.  It might come as little surprise, then, that my most recent (and with any luck final) professional relocation to work at Texas Tech University was at least partially motivated by a desire to provide additional athletic opportunities for my children should they choose to play sports, too.  Compared to my family’s previous home, west Texas provides significantly better opportunities, coaching, and facilities for most team sports, and Lubbock also affords access to other potential athletic exposures simply not possible where we lived before.  Simply put, should my kids decide to play or compete in just about anything short of surfing, Lubbock offers them a better chance to maximize their abilities.  And so far, they have both taken a liking to softball (daughter Brynnan, age 7) and baseball (son Taye, age 4).

That said, in my role as the IYCA’s Director of Education, as a scholar, and as an athletic trainer and a strength and conditioning specialist, I have staked my reputation behind the simple belief that early sport specialization is detrimental to the long-term success of most developing athletes.  Despite the growing trend of professional level coaching, year round travel and elite teams, and high dollar training centers catered specifically for youth, I believe that the science supports multilateral skill acquisition over early specialization any day.  How can I then espouse such beliefs on one hand yet subject my own children to the very same well intentioned yet subtly misguided behaviors on the others?  The short answer is I don’t.

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Injury Rates in Early Sport Specialization Athletes

Athlete Development vs Sport Specialization

Baby - Injury Rates in Early Sport Specialization AthletesCurrent and emerging research regarding early sport specialization versus long-term athletic development continues to support the IYCA’s stance that the long-term athletic development model, or LTAD, provides the greatest benefit to a developing athlete, in both physical and psychological aspects, over time.

Most recently, researchers at the Loyola University Health System located outside Chicago, Illinois presented the results of their study, "The risks of sports specialization and rapid growth in young athletes," at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Athlete DevelopmentThe results, while consistent with the IYCA’s message since inception, further illustrate the tangible risks young athletes are exposed to when their parents, caregivers, and/or coaches ascribe to the early specialization model.

 

Details About the Study

Athlete Development 1The study involved 154 participants (92 male, 62 female) with an average age of 13. All participants were scored using a six-point sport specialization score and other factors such as height and weight were recorded.

Athletes who had sustained injuries (85 athletes) completed another survey to further define their specific injury and their particular training habits. Results for injured athletes were compared to the uninjured control group (69 athletes).

The sport specialization score probed at several clues regarding the level of involvement a young athlete had in sports generally or in a specific sport. Questions included the following:

  • Whether athletes trained more than 75% of the time in one sport exclusively
  • Whether participation in other activities was discontinued in order to focus on one sport
  • Whether or not participation involved travel outside the state
  • Whether participation (practices, games, etc.) involved training for more than eight months in a given year
  • Whether the competition season exceeded six months per year in duration

Following data collection and analysis, researchers noted trends toward significance in two relationships:

  1. Injured athletes spent more hours per week playing sports (19.8 hours per week vs. 17 hours per week).
  2. Injured athletes spent more hours per week in organized sports (11 hours per week vs. 8.8 hours per week).

In addition, uninjured athletes average sport specialization score was 2.75. At the same time, injured athletes averaged a sport specialization score of 3.49.

Final Note

Note, the study, supported through funding from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, is considered preliminary. Researchers are currently recruiting additional participants in order to improve statistical power.

The IYCA applauds such efforts to further define the inherent risks associated with early specialization and looks forward to future efforts to better understand both the injury and performance implications associated with this practice.

Toby Brooks, PhD, ATC, CSCS, PES, YFS3

Source: Jayanthi NA, Pinkham C, Luke A. The risks of sports specialization and rapid growth in young athletes. Presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine. April 30-May 4. Salt Lake City, Utah.


About the Author: Toby Brooks

Athlete DevelopmentDr. Toby Brooks is currently an Assistant Professor in the Master of Athletic Training Program at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock. Dr. Brooks has worked with numerous youth, collegiate, and professional athletes and previously owned and operated a youth athletic development business. He is also Co-Founder and Creative Director of NiTROHype Creative in Lubbock.


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