The best way to understand how to properly help a younger athlete through training, in my opinion, is to think of the process like the start of building an expensive house. You’d naturally start by building a foundation, something stable upon which you can build all the more glamorous parts above that people will see and admire. Athletic development for our younger population works the same way, we do the underlying work that may not turn heads, but is what will hold their physical structure together when they are ready to fully develop the more eye-catching skill sets down the road.
Our training emphasis is on first stabilizing the ankle, hip, and shoulder joint, along with making sure the hips have proper mobility. And as often as possible, we want to create lines of diagonal stress through their midsection (or core) to help link upper body and lower body power and enhance the foundation of rotational power that is critical to success in so many sports (ice hockey, tennis, baseball, softball, field hockey, lacrosse, and golf just to name a few).
By doing this, we can lower a young athlete’s risk for many common injuries – ankle sprains, many types of knee injuries (ACL tears, meniscus tears, etc), shoulder separations, lower back issues, and more. This approach can also have a more global aspect to preventing injuries, too. For example, a rigid shoulder joint combined with more mobile hips may lower stress on the elbow of a young Little League pitcher, preventing or lessening a very common youth sports injury. The list is endless but the point is simple – build a great foundation from Day One and allow for a wonderful structure to be built upon it only after the fundamentals are in place.
This workout is a sample of how we at Athletic Revolution Leominster help our athletes to build that foundation for future success.
Jim Herrick is the founder of Power Source Training Center, Inc. and Athletic/Fitness Revolution Leominster, located in Leominster, MA. An IYCA Certified Level 2 Speed & Agility Specialist and Level 1 Youth Fitness Specialist, he was formerly the Strength & Conditioning Coach at Cushing Academy (Ashburnham, MA) and St. Bernard’s High School (Fitchburg, MA) for a combined 13 years. Jim has helped train thousands of athletes over his career, including nearly a dozen who have gone on to become either professional or Olympic athletes.