Unfortunately, there is a major problem with youth sports in today’s climate. That problem is early specialization.
Youth athletes need to be exposed to a variety of movements and training stimuli to have the best chance at a long term successful career.
The tendency for youth athletes to be pushed to specialize in one sport before high-school has caused an epidemic of overuse injuries.
Athletes that specialize in one sport end up over using the same muscle groups over and over again, which lends to injury and inhibits their development to become well-rounded athletes
Skill training further compounds the problem as athletes are training to perform the same exact movements they are already performing in practice and competition.
What youth athletes really needed is a well-rounded performance program that incorporates strength training to prepare them for the high forces they encounter in their sports.
Incorporating strength training, acceleration, deceleration, gymnastics, body-weight isometrics, jump training, and extensive plyometrics are just a few of the tools we utilize to develop robust athletes at Genesis.
If you are approaching the off-season I encourage you to ditch the skill training for a few months and consider attending our youth athlete program where we take a holistic approach to develop long-term athletic ability. You will be amazed at the results!
Title: Top 5 Ways to Improve Agility
This week I wanted to share the top 5 ways to improve agility in athletes.
First and foremost, we must recognize that in order to effectively train agility we must utilize drills that involve perception-action coupling. Meaning athletes must coordinate their vision and movement within time and space.
Predetermined movement drills that are frequently trained through cones, ladders, and “footwork” do not transfer to the agility that is demonstrated in practice and sport. Furthermore, these drills focus on fast movement of the feet, when in reality displacement comes from the hips.
In order to effectively train agility, athletes must react to an unpredictable environment in competitive situations.
Here are the top 5 ways we develop agile athletes at Genesis:
1. Chaotic Agility Drills- by utilizing audible, visual, and cognitive drills that force an athlete to react to a stimulus we can simulate game like-situations rather than settling for predetermined movement drills. Chaotic agility drills improve hand eye coordination, reaction time, depth perception, and decision making.
2. Train Deceleration- An athletes ability to decelerate and change directions is going to have huge implications in their agility. If athletes can effectively brake and absorb the forces they encounter in deceleration without dissipating elastic energy, then they will be able to change direction more rapidly.
3. Improve Acceleration- An athletes ability to accelerate is directly correlated with their ability to change directions.
4. Get Stronger- athletes must possess a requisite level of strength in order to absorb and re-direct the forces that are encountered in decelerating and re-accelerating into another direction. A lack of full body strength will limit an athletes positional control.
5. Incorporate yielding isometrics- isometrics are a great tool that allow us to train the specific joint angles where athletes decelerate, accelerate, and change directions. They are especially useful for training the frontal plane where many cuts are performed.