Youth Sports Conditioning
Juan Carlos is the director and CEO of the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton Florida. His training methodologies have been successfully applied to the full spectrum of the population; youth, geriatrics, rehabilitation and elite athletes. He has authored numerous articles, books and videos, on various topics involving optimum physical performance.
We wanted to hear from him and his thoughts on youth sports conditioning
IYCA: What’s your background in youth sports conditioning and athletics? Have you trained a lot of young athletes?
JC: I’ve been a competitive athlete for over 3 decades. I started with little league when I was 7 and I’ll compete in the USA Judo Nationals (Masters Division) at 43. I competed in all of the major combative sports -from boxing to judo.
We at the Institute of Human Performance train hundreds of young athletes ranging from middle school to college every very. We also train some of the top pros.
IYCA: There are a lot of coaches, parents and even trainers who treat young athletes as if they were ‘little adults’. What I mean by that is they will take the training routine of a superstar athlete and use it as a guide when working with youngsters. Why, if at all, should we warn against that kind of training?
JC: I have had to save more kids from overzealous coaches and parents than anything else. Coaches and parents often want to live vicariously through their children, pushing them into sports and intensity levels they don’t want or not ready for -that is ALWAYS sad and disastrous.
Kids learn by discovery – this means things have to be fun and not so organized. The intensity and volume a young body can take is certainly different than what a mature body can take. Therefore, we develop a love for movement and the sport -the "athlete" naturally follows that development. Parent and coaches often want to develop great players and a love for winning and forget about athleticism and the love for training. That is like putting the horse before the carriage.
IYCA: The age old debate is ‘How old should an athlete be before they begin lifting weights’. What’s your view on that controversial topic?