How Strength Conditioning Helps Prevent Youth Sports Injury
One of the most popular questions sports youth coaches receive from athletes, parents, and coaches is how they can help prevent injuries in their young athletes. The quick answer to that question is… Strength Conditioning!
The idea that strength training can reduce or eliminate injuries has been around for many years however it has recently become more accepted by sports medicine professionals. Research studies like this one suggest weights should be part of every athlete’s program.
Strength conditioning should not replace regular practice sessions; rather it should be scheduled throughout the year as an adjunct to regular practice sessions. There are several factors that contribute to injuries in sports like improper equipment or poor playing surfaces; however, if you take those items out of the equation then there is a higher probability of injuries occurring in athletes who do not train for strength.
When most young athletes practice and play they are using the same muscles over and over again, which creates muscle imbalances that can increase the chance of injury when they play their sport. Strength conditioning will help to balance out those muscle groups so that when your child plays their sport, they have less chance of injuring themselves.
Proper Strength Conditioning should be age specific and sports specific. This means a 14-year-old football player does not need to perform the same workouts as a 10-year-old lacrosse player, even though both may be classified as a youth athlete!
Why is this important? Well besides preventing injuries it also young athletes become better at their respective sport. The more strength training they do the stronger, faster, and better they will become at their sport!
All of this leads back to “How can Strength Conditioning help prevent youth sports injury?” Well, if your young athlete is stronger than that means that while practicing or competing they are less likely to get injured. It also means that when they do get injured it will be less likely for them to re-injure the same area again because their body has already adapted to increased stress loads.
Strength conditioning will reduce your young athletes’ chance of injury by increasing motor learning, creating an appropriate adaptation response, teaching correct movement patterns, and improving proprioception. These factors along with many more increase both the chances of your young athlete becoming better at their sport as well as reducing the chance they will get injured.
In order for your young athlete to become better and reduce their chance of injury they need a strength training program that is age appropriate, sports specific, and most importantly safe! S&C Research provided a list of ” 5 Youth Strength Training Mistakes You MUST Avoid ” to help you with this.
Finally, if your young athletes are going to practice or play hard, they should train hard too! The National Strength & Conditioning Association recommends all youth athletes perform 1-2 days per week of dedicated strength training in addition to the practices and games. Young athletes must have positive experiences with resistance training from an early age so that it becomes part of their regular practice sessions. Research studies show that when strength training is incorporated into the sport program the young athletes become stronger, faster, better at their respective sport and more importantly less likely to get injured!