Here is the third and final portion of ‘Young Athletes & Coordination’:
(3) Teenage Athletes Are ‘Too Old’
Now, while there is truth to the matter that many of the sensitive periods for coordination development lay during the preadolescent phase of life, it would be shortsighted to suggest that teenage athletes should not be exposed to this type of training.
Firstly, much of the training of coordination takes the form of injury preventative. Any sort of ‘balance’ exercise, for example, requires proprioceptive conditioning and increases in stabilizer recruitment. With ‘synchronization of movement’, large ROM and mobility work is necessary. ‘Kinesthetic differentiation’, by definition, involves sub-maximal efforts or ‘fine-touch’ capacity which is a drastically different stimulus than most young athletes are used to in training settings.
Part 2: Coordination – Can You Teach Young Athletes?
The answer, in short, is yes.
Coordination ability is not unlike any other biomotor – proficiencies in strength, speed, agility and even cardiovascular capacity (through mechanical intervention) can be taught, and at any age.
The interesting caveat with coordination-based work however, is that its elements are tied directly to CNS (Central Nervous System) development and therefore have a natural sensitive period along a chronological spectrum. The actuality of sensitive periods tends to be a contentious topic amongst researchers and many Coaches – some of whom are not satisfied with current research and therefore not eager to believe in their existence and others who accept sensitive periods of development to be perfectly valid. It’s worth pointing out that I am in no way a scientist or researcher, but have read numerous books and research reviews on the subject and feel satisfied that they do exist and can be maximized (optimized for a lifetime) through proper stimulus.
In this 3-part article, I will discuss the role and significance of ‘Coordination Training’ as it relates to both preadolescent and high school athletes:
The myths and falsehoods associated with young athletes Coordination Training are plenty. I’ll outline the ‘Top 3’ here:
Coordination is a singular element that is defined by a universal ability or lack of ability
Coordination cannot be trained nor taught
Coordination-based stimulus should be restricted to preadolescent children
This article will provide a broad-based look at each of those myths and shed some light on the realities behind coordination training as a continuum for the complete development of young athletes aged 6 – 18.