Archive for “Plasticity” Tag

Young Athletes & Coordination – Part 2

[wpfblike]

Young Athletes & Coordination Series

 

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.

 

(more…)

The Myth of Youth Sports Specialization

 

[wpfblike]

 

Youth Sports Specialization

The IYCA Blog has been jumping of late with some great training-based conversation.

 

I wanted you to read an exchange I had with a reader named Keith.

 

It was in reference to my article on Early youth sports Specialization a few days ago.

 

Keith offered some great insight and thought. Here’s what he had to say –

 

"So, playing devil’s advocate once again, why is it that the world’s greatest swimmers have typically been identified when they were preteen, often then,setting world records and competing in world class events as mere teenagers, especially the ladies.

 

How many world and Olympic champion gymnasts and divers average 14 years of age. I wonder if plasticity really means that a child athlete can adapt to, cope with, respond to, recover from, progress with, focus on and develop with, all of the things in one particular sport, and become superior in that sport, without participating in other sports. Doing so like the 5 year old Italian child learns English perfectly by being immersed in that one thing.

 

I know I’m talking about world class athletes but they had to come from somewhere and mostly they were young athletes with a gift through which they were unilaterally developed within their one sport.

 

While I myself have participated in many sports and have coached many sports and I believe in multilateral exposure especially as a means of talent identification, I still need convincing that the multilateral approach is necessary or preferable to develop high level athletes in a given sport.

 

Still liked the article Brian. It keeps the wheels oiled in this old noggin. Keep them coming!"

 

Here was my response –

 

(more…)

Fitness Training For Youth – Even the Best Don’t Get it Sometimes…

Fitness Training For Youth – what age do you start training someone?

 

How old should your fitness training for youth clients be?

 

How about young athletes?

 

I have to admit to being utterly stunned by the opinions

some very esteemed members of our industry shared on this

topic on a popular website recently.

 

“No one under the age of 12”

 

“It’s hard to teach kids under the age of 14 proper technique”

 

I am more convinced than ever that the IYCA is 100% necessary

in this industry.

 

In the world for that matter.

 

What is magical about the age of 12?

 

Why is that considered an age that adjunct fitness training for youth is fine,

but 11 or 10 is an issue.

 

Here’s the real crux of the problem –

 

Many people in this industry simply don’t understand.

 

And although we live in a free country and I wholly support

the right of everyone to express there opinion, it really

makes me wonder why highly esteemed and influential

members of any community don’t first understand the issue

before stating a strong stance on the matter.

 

Notice how I never discuss the virtues of training highly

elite athletes or senior citizens?

 

It’s because I understand and respect my limitations as

a professional and find it silly to wield any sort of

influence over a topic I know nothing about.

 

Ideally, I wouldn’t want to have children pay for my

services either.

 

Kids should be outdoors, in the sun, playing and growing

physically for the exercise stimulus they encounter.

 

Just like I was as a kid.

 

The problem is they’re not doing that.

 

Kids should be enjoying at least 45 minutes of well-designed

and developmentally-sound physical education everyday in

school.

 

But that’s not happening either. 

That is why we need fitness training for youth.

If you know anything at all about human growth and

development, you know that the plasticity of the nervous

system is such that exposure to physical activity is a

must at an early age.

 

And while I would love to see kids just step outdoors

again and enjoy ‘free play’ experiences or partake in

vigors daily exercise in gym class, I also long for the

days when the gas to fill my car cost less than an

entire paycheck.

 

Obese kids aren’t active and must outlets to become

active.

 

Young athletes are at the mercy of under-educated and

over-zealous Coaches so must have a voice of reason in

their adjunct training programs that involve more than

just pushing through biomotor increases.

 

I’m not going to say that our industry has done a fantastic

job of understanding and applying proper elements of  fitness training for youth…

 

… But that’s all the more reason to LEARN them through

a credible organization rather than merely cutting off a

segment of the population who desperately needs help.

 

Let me know your thoughts…

 

‘Till next time,

 

Brian
fitness training for youth