In the previous article (part one of this three-part series), I discussed the importance of working on the fundamentals of human movement with young athletes. I stressed the benefit of improving fundamental human movement and how it can improve athletic performance. Another important and key benefit for working on human movement is how it can greatly reduce the risk of injury. During my consultations with parents regarding their child and training, I actually mention injury prevention being the most important part of our training program. You can make any athlete bigger, faster, and stronger but if the athlete develops an injury, then their strength and speed gains are useless.
Here are a few ways training properly can help prevent injury:
1. Increasing work capacity (GPP)
Many sport injuries occur when the athlete is in a fatigue state. When one is fatigued, decision making slows and reactive ability to certain motor tasks is compromised making the athlete susceptible to injury. Therefore, the better conditioned an athlete is, risk of injury is decreased.
The best way to ensure this is by focusing your wok out on General Physical Preparation (GPP). GPP, in essence, is a phase of training where the main objective is to improve and increase work capacity. Building an aerobic and anaerobic base will allow an athlete to increase their conditioning thus leading to a better athlete
2. Proper stability through movement
This is an important one especially in dealing with the lower limb. Take the knee for example. Many ACL injuries occur partly due to instability in the knee. An athlete changing direction involves him/her planting then cutting. Often times when an athlete attempts to cut after planting, the lack of stability in their knee causes them to cut inefficiently leading to injury. It’s imperative athletes develop stability through joints to ensure proper execution of movement. Efficient movement can greatly reduce the risk of injury.
3. Address muscle imbalances/asymmetries
Injuries often occur because an athlete displays muscle imbalances and asymmetries. The issue with having an imbalance and asymmetry is the athlete will have a tendency to compensate in order to execute a movement. The compensation over time will lead to certain muscles to be over developed and over utilized and other muscles to be under developed and under utilized.
This imbalance can lead to both acute and chronic injuries. The development of a proper training program and systematic approach a young athlete can aid in making sure their body is balance and their asymmetries are minimal.
In the final part of this 3 part series, I will discuss how early sports specialization can hinder athlete performance.
AUTHOR: Jeff King
Director of Athletics & Personal Trainer at Fitness Quest 10
There is a well-organized medical service with all necessary equipment. SCOTT & WHITE HOSPITAL- COLLEGE STATION.
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