For long term-athletic enhancement, the focus should be on improving a child’s fundamental motor skills, specifically their ability to perform locomotive, manipulative, and stabilizing movement at an early age.

[1] Strength development is a key to developing these motor skills and other important performance qualities such speed, power, and agility. Furthermore, strength training helps reduce the risk of sports injuries.[2]

Youth strength and conditioning should begin around the age of 11-12. Children under the age of 11 should focus on developing athleticism by playing multiple sports. Strength training is extremely beneficial for young athletes and should be incorporated 2x a week year-round.

Why is strength and conditioning so important to young athletes? Because skill level may only improve 10-20% after the age of 14, however strength and conditioning can maximize skill. If an athlete has an increase in size and speed they will maximize their current skill level.

Size and speed are often determinants of athletic success. Strength training increases both. In order to run faster an athlete must become stronger to apply more force into the ground. The more force an athlete can apply into the ground the better they can propel themselves forward while sprinting.

Genesis’ approach to youth strength and conditioning is predicated upon developing fundamental movement patterns. We prioritize correct movement first as the athlete progresses and movements are learned we progress volume and loading. Our program is centered around sprinting, throwing, jumping, and resistance training. Resistance training involves the incorporation of squatting, lunging, carrying, pushing, hinging, and pulling. Light kettlebells, bands, sleds, medicine balls, and plyometric balls are some of the tools we use to effectively and safely train our young athletes. Each session incorporates power and speed work to maintain each athletes’ genetic level of fast twitch muscle fibers while promoting the shift of intermediate fibers to fast twitch fibers. Within the first year of training we are striving to improve technique and motor learning while focusing on proper movement.

[1] National Strength and Conditioning Association Position Statement on Long-Term Athletic

Development Lloyd, Rhodri S.; Cronin, John B.; Faigenbaum, Avery D.; More

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 30(6):1491-1509, June 2

[2] National Strength and Conditioning Association Position Statement on Long-Term Athletic Development.

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