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The SCJ is the professional
journal for strength coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists, athletic
trainers, and other health professionals working in the strength and conditioning
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It is no secret that the level of competition in youth sports has been on the rise over the past decades. What used to be recreational teams, city leagues, and neighborhood games has evolved into an entire industry of club sports, elite traveling teams, and hefty participation fees for the young athletes’ parents.A growing number of parents are asking, “With all the extra practices and increased competition, how can I be sure my son or daughter is not going to get injured? And how can I give my child an extra advantage?” To help answer these questions, we need to look at the way we train in the U.S. compared to our European neighbors. Historically, many European countries used general physical preparation training with young athletes to build the foundation of development for their later years of training. Within this general physical preparation training, coaches utilized movements and exercises that developed many different motor abilities or skills. These training sessions were not specific to any one sport, they were specific in providing a general foundation of motor abilities (speed, agility, quickness, strength endurance, relative strength, flexibility, etc.).These young athletes then transitioned into more specific training based on their sport as they aged. This is a direct contrast to the North American model, in which children typically specialize in their respective sports at a much earlier age. For this reason it is vitally important for parents to consider having their children train with a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS®), who understands the specific needs of the children based on their developmental window of adaptation. A CSCS® is responsible for building the foundation and the groundwork for later years of development, while doing so in a safe and healthy environment. These certified individuals have a wealth of knowledge that allows them to provide proper program design for the children throughout the course of their development.
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It is important for parents to utilize certified coaches to train their children in order to get the most beneficial training based on each child’s chronological age and developmental age. This will provide a safe environment in which to promote long-term health and athletic development.