Archive for “Endocrine System” Tag

Overtraining Young Athletes – Part 2

 

 

Young Athletes

In my last article on overtraining, I offered the suggestion that as trainers and coaches, we must take a deeper look at how we program for and train our athletes. I have made a career out of advocating for the use of more moderate training intensity and volume with young athletes, but this goes even further – it goes to the route of our programming abilities and skills. How much time do we truly spend in designing, monitoring and dynamically adjusting our training programs?

 

General overtraining syndromes impact both the central nervous system as well as the endocrine system. Given that the regulation of many hormones within the endocrine system serve to oversee and manage our stress levels, it is fair to imply that general overtraining could be considered a stress related issue.

 

Two types of general overtraining have been recognized –

 

1. Addisonic Overtraining – This version is related to Addison’s disease and involves a reduction in the activity of the adrenal glands. This class of overtraining impacts the parasympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system, but shows no striking signs at first. A general stagnation or dip in an athlete’s performance (day-to-day) may be an indication or symptom.

 

2. Basedowic Overtraining – This version is connected to thyroid hyperactivity and named after Basedow’s disease (also known as Graves’ disease). This class of overtraining impacts the sympathetic portion of the autonomic nervous system and brings with it a host of identifiable symptoms (reduced reaction time, tire easily, poor motivation, appetite and sleep requirement changes).

 

I offer these two definitions in an attempt to encourage us all to take a closer look at our young athletes when they walk in our doors. As I mentioned in last week’s article, over the past number of training sessions, I could see subtle signs of both these overtraining conditions in the actions and reactions of my athletes.

 

The Winter Holiday (complete with inappropriate nutrition and sleep deprivation) had combined with Final Exams Week (complete with undue amounts of psychological stress, inappropriate nutrition and sleep deprivation) leaving many of my young athletes looking and feeling lethargic. That isn’t to say that notable extraneous circumstances alone (i.e. Winter Holiday coupled with Finals) will always account for a potential overtraining situation, in fact, very often it can be quite subtle:

 

  • Broke up with girlfriend or boyfriend

  • Received a ‘C’ in math

  • Doesn’t understand English homework

  • Is freaked out about driver’s test coming up in a few weeks

 

(more…)

Much More than Training Young Athletes…

Training Young Athletes goes a lot deeper than you might think.

I had an exceptional time this past weekend.

Training Young Athletes

I got a chance to hang out with one of the best and most unique
minds in our industry – Paul Taylor.

Paul owns and operates ‘PT Academy’ in Australia – which is the
largest and most well-known certification organization in that
part of the world.

What makes Paul so unique and ‘visionary-like’ is his
understanding of human behavior, cognitive function and its
connection to both fitness and sport training.

Now I don’t mean your standard run-of-the-mill sport psychology,
either.

Paul’s understanding of mental/emotional science and the way
stressors, stimulus and regressive beliefs actually serve to
shape our ‘who we are now’ realities is absolutely astounding.

And as always, I was listening intently and learning everything
I could during our conversation.

I was also incredibly happy to see that so many of my thoughts
pertaining to youth fitness and sports training were valid
from a scientific level.

Here’s a recap of what I learned from Paul –

:: The key toTraining Young Athletes is to connect fitness with fun.
This develops a positive correlation in the brain at the
neuro-transmitter level and leads to a favorable and habitual
pattern for years.

:: Over-training is a great sin. Stress at large punishes the
delicate balance of the endocrine system and can lead to
extremely problematic health-related issues. Infusing fun and
following a ‘teaching model’ of athletic development is the
best and most effective way of working with young athletes.

:: The Pygmalion Effect truly is a critical factor in working
with youngsters. Placing positive and constructive expectations
on kids is essential for optimal development.

:: Language is absolutely critical – calling kids ‘fat’, sending
them to ‘Fat Camp’ or always telling them that ‘they should
be faster’ are surefire ways of establishing that exact
slant in their minds. Essentially, the stigma you place on
them is what they will begin to believe about themselves and
eventually create habits around fulfilling (i.e. they will
become exactly that).

:: Although teaching and training young athletes to ‘think positively’ is
key, you must also teach them to create habits around those
positive thoughts. Thoughts don’t change things – habits do.
Positive thought processes must lead to or be accompanied by
positive habitual patterns. When combined, the road to change
begins.

All in all, absolutely fascinating stuff!

Very much like my stance on the Art of Coaching…

Training is the SCIENCE.

But Coaching is the ART.

To be truly effective in what we do, we must understand how
the mental and emotional science of our work connects with the
physical portion.

‘Till next time,

Brian