Archive for “Age Group” Tag

Stretching Young Athletes with Bands

 

Young Athletes and Resistance Band Stretching

 

By Dave Schmitz
 

What age is good to start band stretching?
 

Is it appropriate to stretch young athlete ages 10 to 13 with Bands?
 

Are there precautions when stretching young athletes with bands?
 

As a band expert I have never felt doing band stretching with athletes younger than 14 was an effective way to improve passive mobility because of the hypersensitivity of the nervous system to passive over pressure stretching. Anytime I attempted to introduce band stretching to this age group, I met with a great deal inhibition and compensation. Passive overpressure stretching of young athletes for years seemed to be very noxious to the neuromuscular system which resulted in kids just putting their body through unproductive stress that the body was not mature enough to handle. The key word in this sentence was mature or from a functional standpoint integrated.
 

Band stretching is like any other movement skill, it must be integrated progressively which means eliminating inhibition by introducing the movement skill in a progressive manner. With band stretching that means:
 

  1. Using the correct band strength that provides the young athlete with enough resistance to initiate a contraction but does not put their muscle under inhibitory causing stress
     

  2. Providing a manual training stimulus using your hands and verbal cueing to guide them through the movement patterns
     

  3. Stressing the importance of opposite side stabilization and manually assisting with this so they can feel the impact of locking out the opposite arm and maintaining a solid foot contact against the wall
     

  4. Not overwhelming them by showing all stretching positions in one training session. Start with hamstring stretching first and then gradually introduce hip rotation, hip flexor/quad and ankle on subsequent sessions
     

    Other important keys to remember are that many of these young athletes are going through abrupt growth spurts which disrupt their neuromuscular control and coordination instantly. Lever arms are lengthened which in turn challenges dynamic stabilization. Also with this added length neural tissues become shortened leading to neurotension restrictions which are best addressed with rhythmical dynamic stretching versus using a static stretching approach.
     

    A Case Study
     

    My son Carter was 13 years old, 135 pounds and 5 feet 1 inch tall going into 8th grade school year. Carter moved very well for his age but had recently gone through a 3 inch growth spurt over a 2 month time frame which dramatically increased his hamstring and hip rotation tightness. Carter played soccer as well as football. He had become very interested in becoming the kicker for his 8th grade club football team. In watching Carter kick during the summer prior to his 8th Grade year, he was not able to get effective hip flexion with knee extension during the follow through of his kicks which had decreased both his power as well as accuracy. In accessing his Straight leg Raise (SLR) Test, Carter demonstrated only about 30 degrees of hip flexion with full knee extension.
     

    Up until this time, I had never implemented band stretching with Carter but decided to do a 3 week trial. For the first three 15 minute stretching sessions, I manually worked with Carter to insure proper movement and stability during the movement. I did not apply any overpressure but rather allowed Carter to create that with the band. My role was simply to guide the movements and assist with stabilization. After the first 2 sessions Carter started demonstrating very good neuromuscular control using a Red Small band and was able to perform all hamstring and hip rotation stretches effectively without my assistance. He stretched a total of 15 times over a 21 day period with each session lasting about 12 to 15 minutes. Many of the sessions were done prior to practice or before going out to play with his friends.
     

    After 3 weeks of band stretching, Carter’s SLR Test increased to 75 degrees and his kicking accuracy from 30 yards was 90%. After 6 weeks his SLR Test was 90 degrees and his accuracy was now 90% at 35 yards.
     

    Obviously after seeing this incredible change in Carter’s hip flexibility, I quickly started to adjust my opinion on band stretching for younger athletes. One of the other factors that I realized while going through this experiment with Carter, was level of muscle stiffness maturity he was experiencing. Carter’s tissues were stiff but not to the degree of an individual in his 20’s or 30’s Therefore by applying the correct stretching stimulus Carter’s tissues quickly adapted and lengthen which explained the dramatic improvement but also provided a stronger support towards instituting band stretching sooner than later in young athletes.
     

    Recommendations for stretching young athletes with bands

     

    Here are a few recommendations for starting a band stretching program for ages 11 to 14.
     

    1. Begin by using a red band before considering any stronger level band. Very important to not over tension their muscle tissue and make them struggle getting into the correct positions.
     

    2. As their coach or parent, you need to help them learn the movements and positions. They will need manual guidance and verbal cueing for at least 2-3 sessions before they can be allowed to stretch on their own.
     

    3. Start with 1 or 2 stretches and gradually implement the others as they master the initial stretches. Again keep in mind, this is not fun stuff and the motivation to train flexibility will probably not be there initially. Until they begin to feel functional improvement, getting young athletes to stretch effectively will require coaching patience.
     

    4. Stretch slowly but actively. 2-3 second progressive holds while performing at least 90 seconds of rhythmical movement in each position is important. Progressive holds are defined as maintaining increased tension for 2 to 3 seconds while still attempting to push further into the range.
     

    The video below will take you through what stretches I feel you should start using with young athletes.

    It should be noted the hip flexor- quad stretch is not performed but should be added into the routine once hamstrings and hip rotation stretches are mastered.
     


     

     

     

IYCA members updates

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Here are your IYCA updates to www.IYCAMembers.com for the week of February 7, 2011:

 

(1) The Athletic Performance Matrix

 

Last week, I gave you an incredible look at Athletic Development from New Zealand through the sample programming of IYCA Member and world-class Coach, Gareth Ashton.

 

This week, I want you to see exactly how and why he sets up his Athletic Development program inside one of New Zealand’s most famed sporting schools:

 

Click Here to Access this Incredible Resource —> http://www.iycamembers.com/members/324.cfm

 

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Speed Training for Youth

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Body Awareness

 

Movement Exploration

 

Technical Layering (aka Letter Tracing: A – D)

 

Does your Speed Training for Youth 6 – 9 year old kids’ look or sound like that?

 

Is there such a thing as ‘Speed Training’ for this age group?

 

Watch this video and see…

 

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The Youth Fitness Difference

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Youth Fitness

 

“Fitness” in Early Childhood: Part I

 

This article is Part I of a series by Dr. Kwame M Brown. There will be more to come, including details about programming and resources for our members.

 

I spend all day around preschoolers and parents.  We have a great preschool here at Lee District RECenter in Franconia, VA and the teachers here are all about play!  I don’t regularly work formally with the preschool children, but interact with them and play little games with them throughout the day as they bang on my window, or I see them in the hall, or play hopscotch with them on the sidewalk outside.  Our teachers are wonderful all by themselves and don’t really need me that much. 

 

I am often asked how to do fitness programs for kids at this age.   The answer I often give is that the programming is easy:  Combine outdoor play (mostly) lots of pretend play and obstacle courses.  For older toddlers, you can begin adding simple tag games, crawling or hopping relays, and very simple throw, catch and kick games.  There are tons of great activities available on the web for this age group. 

 

The hard part:  the teaching! 

 

With this group you have to be in equal parts:

 

  1. Understanding
  2. Engaged / Energetic
  3. Patient
  4. Creative
  5. Silly
  6. Uninhibited
  7. Authoritative (for safety only)

 

Running a fitness program for older children and teens is as much or slightly more about the personnel as the program.  Running youth fitness programs for the preschool age is overwhelmingly about the personnel more than the program. 

 

If you consider yourself a fitness professional, or a highly qualified coach, you may not be successful in running preschool program.  If you, on the other hand, consider yourself a play partner, you can be incredibly successful.  Kids will ask when they will see you again.  My assistant and I have kids who run and jump into our arms when we see them!  They know that we are having fun being with them.  They know that we’re not there to get performance out of them, but to enjoy their play experiences alongside them. 

 

youth fitness specialist certification

 

Learn to Train Kids from 6 – 18 (Athletes & Non-Athletes Alike)…

 

with the Youth Fitness Specialist – Level 1 certification

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flexibility Training for Young Athletes

 

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Chris Blake gives answer some common questions about flexibility training for young athletes

 

What is the difference between Flexibility and Mobility?
Flexibility can have two definitions:

1.) The ability of muscle to lengthen during passive movements.

2.) Range of motion about a joint and surrounding musculature during passive movements.

 

Mobility can also have two ways of being defined. The main definition is the state of being in motion. But this state of motion can be looked at within certain joints (subtalar mobility) or as a physical whole (moving from one position into the next during a run).

 

Are both important to young athletes or is one more important than the other?
This is a great question. Both are important for the older athlete (ages 14-18+) as athletes within this age group tend to show more restrictions with both flexibility and mobility, often times once you take care of the flexibility then you improve mobility. But with the younger athlete (ages 13 and under) I wouldn’t place much importance on either one unless there has been a certain injury that limits each.

 

Are there different kinds of Flexibility, or is ‘bending over to touch my toes and stretch my hammy’ what all young athletes should be doing?
There are seven different ways of going about flexibility:

 

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The Truth About Kids Fitness Program Design

 

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Okay, so I admit to being overwhelmed.

 

When I sent yesterday’s email out asking for people to offer
their thoughts on the matter of Kids Fitness Program and ‘training kids under twelve’,
I wasn’t expecting such a huge outpouring of passionate
responses.

 

My blog is loaded with comments.

 

I received no fewer than 20 emails on the topic.

 

I even had 4 people call me to tell me what they thought.

 

The IYCA certainly is comprised of some passionate people…

 

… And I love that!

 

And now that we’ve established the fact that training
children under the age of 12 is an absolute must, it begs
the question – how do you do it?

 

Weight training – Is that safe for a kids fitness program?

 

Speed and Agility – How do you teach that to pre-adolescents?

 

Plyometrics – How much volume, sets or reps?

 

So while I’m glad that everyone who responded seems to
understand the need for training and instruction with kids
under 12, do they know how to design and implement
programs for this age group?

 

Maybe.

 

But it is a very tricky science.

 

Especially when you factor in the reality that you’re likely
going to be dealing with several kids, all of whom have
different learning styles and abilities, and the potential of
over-zealous Coaches and Parents who are looking for
results NOW… As completely silly as that is.

 

Here’s a quick crash course for you on how to program for
kids under 12 years old –

 

:: Always start by arranging your training group into a semi-
circle around you being sure to avoid any natural hierarchy’s
that typically plague this age group

 

:: Introduce the first exercise being sure to verbally explain and
then visually demonstrate

 

:: Be positive with all commentary and feedback

 

:: The program itself should follow this sequence –

 

a. Coordination 1 (demo)

b. Game Play

c. Coordination 2 (demo)

d. Game Play

e. Technical Instruction

f. Game Play

 

:: Choose coordination exercise that stimulating any of the
following physical characteristics –

 

a. Balance

b. Kinesthetic Differentiation

c. Rhythm

d. Spatial Awareness

e. Movement Adequacy

 

 

 

And that’s how you create successful kids fitness program under
the age of 12!

 

Want the rest of the story?

 

All the specifics and some samples of how it works?

 

Click the link below and get your hands on my brand-new Kids Fitness Program
‘Secrets to Program Design’ course.

 

More than 1,000 Fitness Professionals worldwide have already
purchased this groundbreaking course and have become better
Coaches and Trainers IMMEDIATELY because of it.

 

Here’s your link –

 

http://www.iyca.org/course/programdesign

 

 

‘Till next time,

 

Brian