The gap between the fitness of the average child and that of the high performing young athlete widens.  There is little argument that young people are becoming less active.  As a result, they are less fit.  In sports however, the development of high performance pathways for talented young athletes has raised the performance bar.  With the exception of ‘early specialisation’ sports, current thinking dictates that young athletes participate in a variety of sports until the ages of 15-16+.  This however, has not stopped many sports and athletes following a more specialised route in sports for which the young athlete shows promise.


The value of strength and conditioning for young athletes

High performance pathways associated with elite sport now have strength and conditioning programmes in place.  The aim of these programmes is to provide young performers with the foundations of good movement and general athleticism.  In turn, these foundations support sports specific training.  Parents also seek out strength and conditioning support for their children who are showing promise in sport.  In our experience athletes come needing increased strength and or speed.  They have often been told by a coach that they need for speed or more strength.  Such feedback is based upon observation of sports specific sessions.


The role of the high performance strength and conditioning coach

When working with high performance young athletes the role of the S&C coach is to develop sustainable long term performance.  Focusing on short term gains can be counter productive in the long run.  Therefore, providing the young athlete with a broad base of general athletic development is key.  The Strength and Conditioning coach can ensure that the individual receives a balanced athletic development, especially those who specialise early.  Growth and maturation must be considered at all times.  The strength and conditioning programme must ultimately support the sport specific training of the high performance young athlete.


If you would like to know more about how NK Fitness can support young sports people then please contact us here.