We believe that the 12 to 17 age bracket is the most critical stage in long-term athlete development. This is due to the neurological, physiological and hormonal changes that are occur
HORMONAL CHANGES Puberty, the stage when an adolescent’s body has the greatest potential to grow due to the large amount of hormonal activity. However, puberty is also an adolescent’s most vulnerable stage for developing bad neuromuscular habits due to the accelerated rate of growth. This means that strength training, neuromuscular development and maintaining an appropriate range of motion is vital to youth development for sport and general health and fitness.
RANGE OF MOTION The rapid growth of adolescent bones creates larger amounts of stress on young ligaments and tendons. This is why it is essential to develop teenagers’ ROM to alleviate the stress on their joints and to facilitate greater movement capacity. We do this by teaching and applying correct warm up protocols including dynamic movements, fascia release work and muscle activation before engaging in exercise, and by teaching proper stretching protocols after exercise in an effort to decrease the chance of tendon and ligament injuries, improve posture and increase athletic development.
NEUROMUSCULAR DEVELOPMENT Once the adolescent can perform the following skills: jumping, landing, accelerating and decelerating correctly, we progress them to bounding and changing of direction training. Bounding combines both jumping and landing into a functional and explosive neural pattern. Change of direction (agility) training combines accelerating and decelerating. These are both essential parts of any sport and will help prevent injuries and give adolescent athletes the advantage over their peers in their chosen sports.
STRENGTH TRAINING Developing adolescents strength is vital in helping teens build a strong posterior chain to help prevent injuries to the shoulders, knees and back while also increasing their strength and power output. Without adequate muscular strength to stabilise and control their joints, particularly in their posterior chain muscles, adolescents tend to struggle controlling their rapidly changing bodies. This is the reason why adolescents are typically uncoordinated and experience problems with their knees, backs and shoulders. By applying strength training, increasing neuromuscular movement patterns and ROM to adolescents, we can help capitalize on the increase in growth and help avoid potential postural and neuromuscular imbalances that may lead to injury or a decrease in sporting performance.