We may not have realised, but youth programs have begun to target talent earlier, and children have begun to specify in their training and sport from very young ages.
With all the benefits and success this will provide in their sport, we need to think about the effects that this may have on their overall development.
Becoming specific so early on can leave us deficient in a number of movement/motor patterning requirements, whether this be caused by a lack of flexibility/mobility in certain areas or often strength deficits.
While our performance in our sport may increase, so does our likelihood of injury if these lagging areas of youth development aren’t addressed.
45-55% of injuries reported in adolescents are caused by overuse, as the demand for sport specificity continues to increase.
These overuse injuries more than often lead to burnout, and eventually dropping out of the sport.
Young female athletes unfortunately are prone to such injuries due to their differences in biomechanics, anatomy and hormonal differences.
With puberty showing impact on neuromuscular development, joint mechanics and other injury risks arise.
This is why exposure to a well planned strength program is becoming more and more important.
Not only is training associated with increased long term participation in sport, but it is also the ideal way to train what these young athletes are missing.
A good youth strength program must not only aim to assist sport performance, but also movement and physical health as a whole.
Stronger children become greater prepared for the continuing increase in load on their bodies from their sport, and in turn, decrease their likelihood of injuries that could hinder their development in the long run.
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