Recently the father of a young athlete called to inquire about some sport-specific coaching for his daughter.
I asked him about her goals. And if she had any previous injuries. And what she was currently doing, strength training-wise, to achieve her goals.
And he said nothing because he was too busy. Otherwise he could just do it himself.
Now I had never met this parent before. I don’t know what his educational background was, what type of training credential he held (or previously held), if any, and what experience he had training himself or others.
I just asked the questions, listened and made notes.
Then I asked if his daughter was small, average or tall for her age? And he said she was small.
I then asked how old she was and explained that based on her chronological age (candles on a birthday cake), developmental age (how close to an adult she was in terms of development) and her sport would determine how we would approach her training to ensure it was safe, appropriate and effective for her goals.
There was then a long pause at the other end of the line.
So I had to ask ‘are you still there?’. To which he answered ‘Yes. I never knew any of that so it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get started trying to help her.’
No problem I said. That’s why we’re here.
Obviously safety is priority number one when working with young athletes. We take the time to make sure our athletes understand the proper way to warm up. We make sure they learn optimal technique for all lifts. We make sure they can read their program and understand the acute variables such as reps, sets, load, intensity, tempo and rest periods. And while we want to make sure the process is enjoyable we demand that the athletes that train us bring a mature attitude and there is no margin for preventable accidents.
Because accidents do happen including this one where a high student was paralyzed in a weight training accident, and this one as well. Weight room accidents can also happen in the weight rooms of major Division 1 football programs.
So safety is always goal number one. As the parent of two small children myself I can appreciate the value in knowing your athletes have a safe environment to train in.
But besides ensures the environment is safe we want to make sure the programming is appropriate and effective. So we abide by LTAD (long term athlete development) guidelines. This ensure the athlete is doing the right thing at the right time.
To explain it a little more there are stages, or windows, when it is more beneficial to train certain athletic abilities. For example, when a teenage boy is going through his growth spurt it may be a good time to train stamina followed by speed. After the growth spurt, maybe 12-18 months later, you can start to train strength more specifically.
By following these stages according to the developmental stage of the athlete you will reap the most reward from the efforts. And it allows for longer continued development of athletic ability. Ignoring what should be trained at each stage leads to untapped potential, stunted development and possible injury.
Lastly, our young athlete training transfer skills to last a lifetime. We recognize that not all athletes will get a scholarship. Not everyone will go to the Olympics. And not everyone will play sports for a living.
But we will all need our bodies to last a lifetime. We will all benefit, or not, from eating healthy nutrition starting at a young age. We will hopefully minimize the injuries that could occur at a young age and become nagging, chronic issues later in life. We will aim to instill the importance of getting adequate, quality sleep every night. And our team and clients will interact with these young athletes so they become better team players, better communicators and better members of society.
To facilitate this Okanagan Peak Performance Inc is offering ‘Open Gym’ for all high school students. You don’t need to be a part of team or playing a sport to participate. What it will include is access to Okanagan Peak Performance Inc training facility 4 days per week for a 3 hour block each time. The athlete will have a program designed specific to their sport and/or goals. The athlete will be shown proper technique for all lifts and always have a coach available for a spot, question or modification of an exercise. So to summarize each athlete will receive:
- Strategy Session – to determine goals, training history, nutritional and sleep habits
- Movement Screen – to identify movement compensation and readiness to train
- Training Program – each athlete will receive a program unique to their sport or goal
- Facility Access – the athlete will have up to 12 hours access per week to train
- Coach On the Floor – a coach will always be on the floor to supervise and assist, spot and answer questions
- Nutritional & Supplement Support – making sure young athletes eat the right things and the right amounts
To find out more and to book a spot for your young athlete shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the gym at 123-1511 Sutherland Avenue.