So a great question was asked on the message board over at www.IYCAMembers.com a couple of days ago.
"Why are high speed running treadmills NOT recommended for training young athletes?"
I’ve been talking about this issue for as long as I can remember.
So naturally… I offered my two cents.
Here are my thoughts:
One of the experts interviewed in the link Ryan provided (great read by the way… Thanks Ryan) is Matt Nichol.
** NOTE ** the link to the article is here: http://www.elitefts.com/documents/gimmick.htm
Matt is a great friend of mine and we started out in this industry together. Both fresh out of college, Matt and I worked at the High Performance Specialists in Toronto for a few years.
HPS had both a high speed treadmill as well as a skating treadmill.
Neither Matt nor I used them with our athletes and both received our fair share of reprimands from our boss because of it.
In fact, reading what Matt had to say in this article reminded me of the stuff we used to argue to our boss as to why we weren’t using them!
Gimmick from top to bottom.
‘Sells’ to parents and athletes well
Wonderful marketing platform
But that’s it.
1) Force production of the athlete into the ground is substantially different than the ground rolling at you and you merely ‘skimming’ over it
2) Developmental athletes AND elite athletes must ‘link’ movement skill. Meaning… there is little point to creating linear speed if a deceleration or change of direction effort isn’t applied secondarily – as opposed to ‘jumping off’ a belt
3) You only have ‘x’ number of contact hours per week with your young athletes. How much, largely un-applicable time, do you want to spend on linear speed?
The only argument I have ever heard as to the benefits of this type of training is ‘my athlete got faster’.
If you are familiar with IYCA philosophy, than you know my stance on this.
If not, here is a brief summary:
1) Improvements in a bio-motor cannot function as an isolated factor to prove anything with young athletes. Due to several hormonal, biological (etc) issues, virtually ANY training system applied to young athletes will have a training effect.
2) ‘Improvement’s are typically considered under "test, re-test" situations. Taking a rather un-trained organism through any stimulus will garner an effect/improvement. That doesn’t show anything concrete in relation to the specific stimulus you applied. For example, the return argument here could be "yes, your young athlete improved, but how much MORE COULD they have improved if you had applied better stimulus?" – it’s an impossible argument, which is why "my athlete got faster/stronger" (etc) lends little credibility in actuality.
3) Specific bio-motor improvements that are not technically based are temporary. Training effects happen. Training effects also ‘un-happen’ when stimulus is removed. Training young athletes is a matter of athletic DEVELOPMENT – not how fast/strong we can get kids in a short period of time by using stimulus intended to create a training effect and nothing more.
What say you, my friend?
Also… How about an EDUCATION and WORLD-CLASS CREDENTIALS in Speed & Agility training that works AND makes sense?