Spring Training for Young Athletes
Many young athletes procrastinate and wait until the summer to start offseason training or college prep. This makes reaching their fitness goals a challenge, because it’s difficult to get back to the level you need to play well after coming off months of rest.
One way young athletes can jumpstart their fitness program is by using the spring to get into a rhythm and prepare themselves for the summer grind. If your young athlete is still in season during the spring period, it is the perfect opportunity to fine tune their strengths and work on weaknesses.
Spring fitness and sports camps are great for young athletes to keep fit with friends. It also helps them to learn new skills, keep on top of their game and avoid getting rusty. Camps also are a great way to promote activity and for your child to make new friends with people who have the same interests.
I work with many teenage athletes making their dreams reality to play at college or on a professional team. I am frequently asked what teenage athletes need to perform at this level. In a nutshell, pay attention to the psychological, physical, tactical and technical part of the sport. This isn’t always something most young athletes can prepare for at home, so you want to surround your teens with good coaches and mentors. If you pick wisely, you can find coaches and mentors rolled in to one.
- Psychological: Young athletes need to show professionalism on and off the field. Every aspect of their life—school, sports practice, diet and time management—should be taken seriously. Teens need to be honest with themselves and set realistic goals. They must learn to balance all aspects of their lives and accept sacrifice as part of this. By this, I mean possibly missing out on social activities, family outings, school functions, etc.
- Physical: Teens need to keep their bodies in top shape through constant maintenance exercises to remain at peak performance and prevent injury. By working on overall athleticism, a sports career will be easier; the more physically prepared and injury-free an athlete is, the easier it will be to perform on an ongoing basis.
- Tactical: Make sure your young athlete has a deep understanding of his or her sport and position. Study the sport and focus on details, such as players in the same position and their respective movements.
- Technical: This comes down to doing extra work and drills; make them as close to realistic game speed as possible. We must be able to efficiently make powerful movements quickly and precisely. Teaching our body from an early age to maneuver and perform designated movements, while developing a feel for the game as technical skills progress, will make technical skills consistent and second nature.