DOES MY YOUTH ATHLETE NEED "SPORT SPECIFIC” TRAINING?
A very common question we get from parents and youth athletes is “Do you offer sport
specific training?” Many parents and athletes believe if they are going to participate in
any type of weight training or sports performance training, it should be 100% tailored to
the sport of their athlete. Makes sense right? While there may be a time and place for
that, let’s talk about what Sport Specific Training really means, and who it might be
Misconceptions about Sport Specific Training?
There are a lot of misconceptions about what Sport Specific Training is, so let’s talk
about that first by talking about what it is not.
Sport specific does NOT mean doing weighted movements that look exactly like sport.
Think shooting a weighted basketball, kicking with ankle weights on your leg, or
repeatedly jumping to block with a weight vest on.
Another misconception is that performance training needs to focus only on the surface-
level athletic qualities of the sport. You may think a youth baseball player may only need
to work on shoulder health and elbow health, or a youth fencer may only need to work
on agility and flexibility, but in reality both athletes will benefit greatly from doing things
like sprinting, jumping, total body strength training, and learning how to move properly.
Who needs truly “Sport Specific” Training?
Only advanced athletes, who have a long history of training, have gone through many
other avenues of improving athletic qualities truly need very sport specific training. Even
many college athletes are not past the point where they need to do more than
consistently participate in a full-body, strength training program that focus on the
general athletic qualities of strength, power, speed, movement quality, and durability.
If not “Sport Specific” then what?
First, we should all understand that what most youth athletes need is not to be so
focused on just one sport. Many studies have shown that early specialization in a
specific sport reduces overall athletic potential, puts the athlete at risk for overuse
injuries, and could also lead to early burnout.
With that being said, if the athlete is in a position where performance training is
appropriate, that training should be focused on a few things:
General Athletic Qualities: Youth athletes, regardless of sport, will benefit from getting
stronger, sprinting, jumping, landing, doing double and single limb upper/lower body
movements, and learning how to control their core. All of these things will help any
athlete be better at their sport, reduce risk of injury, and etc.
Learn How to Lift Weights: While this obviously includes safety, movement quality,
It’s understanding that improvement comes steadily with consistently training. It’s
building the foundation for varsity/college and beyond where even bigger strides can be
made. What it is not about, is how much weight is lifted. Whether it’s 5lbs or 100lbs, the
goal is to build good training habits that will pay dividends in the future.
Have Fun! This should always be priority #1 when it comes to any decisions made with
Youth Athletes. Performance training can be a fun new environment for Youth Athletes.
Here at Virtus Performance Club, athletes get to train with athletes of different sports,
different experience levels, learn new skills, and compete with others in a safe fun
If this sounds like something you or someone you know may be interested in, reach out
to firstname.lastname@example.org, follow our Instagram @virtusperformanceclub,
and stop by for a free training session!