Why should my youth athlete start strength training at a young age? Typically when you hear strength training within the sports world people think of high-level athletes lifting weights. However, science has shown that kids begin to improve body awareness, balance and control as early as age seven.
Most kids typically sharpen these skills through being active whether playing an organized sport, playing outside, or even in a school-based Physical Education class. Strength training will not only help further the development of these skills but it also comes with a multitude of on and off-field benefits. Done correctly at a young age provides more physical benefits in the long run.
The biggest benefit of strength training at any level of development is physical performance within the sport. Increasing an athlete’s muscular strength and endurance will increase their ability to perform on the field. Putting it simply speed plus strength equals power so increasing an athlete’s strength will in turn increase their power which is necessary in any sport. More power means athletes can accelerate quicker, jump higher, and kick farther.
Another major benefit of strength training is the reduction of sports-related injuries. As an athlete goes through a strength program their body will increase blood flow throughout the body which in turn leads to healthier joints and muscles. Strength training will also help increase bone strength due to Wolff’s Law which states that if bones have a force to act against (weight lifting) the bones will over time increase density and strength which makes them harder to break. Oftentimes “prehab” exercises are also programmed into an athlete’s workout program which are typically exercises similar to a rehab program but with the goal of preventing the injury before it happens.
Whether you are a professional-level player or a youth player, being involved in a well-thought-out and executed strength program can make a pivotal difference on the field, increasing your performance and ability to be healthy for the entirety of a season.
Article by: Sean VandeWiele, Sogility Director of Athlete Development – Westfield
For more information on Sogility’s Athlete Development Program visit sogility.net/ath-development.