Parents can have concerns when it comes to strength & conditioning for their children. Is it safe? Will resistance training stunt my son / daughters growth? What age can my child start training? Can strength and conditioning benefit my childs performance? Research suggests that there is a place for strength & conditioning in youth performance. The increase in youth strength & conditioning coaching supports this.
Benefits of strength & conditioning on youth performance
Several sceintific studies have looked at youth strength & conditioning. They have shown that properly supervised and structured programmes can benefit youth athletes:
- Increased overall fitness
- Improved sports performance
- Better motor drive and synchronisation of muscle recruitment
- Increased flexibility
- Faster speed and higher vertical jump performance
- Increased oxygen carrying capacity
- Reduced risk of injury
In addition to these performance benefits, young people who engage in strength & conditioning also experience improved health markers:
- Reduced body fat
- Increased bone density
- Higher levels of self esteem and confidence
Implementing youth strength & conditioning effectively
Many parents worry about doing too much too soon. Generally speaking, if a child is taking part in organised sports then they will be able to do strength & conditioning acitvities. Parents should seek out qualified staff, such as those that hold the C.S.C.S certification. Models of Long Term Athlete Development provide strutured guidance realtive to a childs level of maturity. Youth strength coaches should also observe a 1 to 10 coach to athlete ratio or less.
NK Fitness work with a growing number of youth athletes. Our recently launched Excelerate App is free to download and contains great content for coaches, parents and young performers.