Why Strength & Conditioning for Youth Athletes?
If you are the parent of a middle- or high-school student athlete, your dinners are probably often filled with talk of receiving a scholarship to play sports at a D1 school and then later go on to play at the professional level. While many student athletes share that goal, playing at this level is no easy feat. Only 6% of all high school football players will go on to play in college. This number is even lower for high school basketball and soccer players at 3.1% and 5.6% (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-odds-of-playing-college-sports/). With this kind of intense competition, what can you do to help give your athlete the competitive edge they need to get the chance to play at the collegiate level?
According to Pat Marley, a football coach at Stonewall Jackson High School in Prince William County, purely focusing on sport-specific technique is not enough. By the time most athletes enter middle- and high-school, they already possess the sport-specific skills necessary to be competitive. The aspect that often separates the good athletes from the great is strength and conditioning training.
Coach Marley points out that besides the obvious side effect of becoming a better all-around physical athlete, the skills and mentality learned off the field directly translate into an athlete’s performance. Athletes learn new skills and gain an enhanced level of mental toughness when doing strength and conditioning training that is often not found in single sport athletes. This is a widely shared belief, with some high-profile coaches such as Jim Harbaugh, the head coach of the Michigan Wolverines and previous head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, going as far as refusing to consider one sport athletes for his team.
Another positive benefit of strength and conditioning training is injury avoidance. Teenage athletes that only focus on sport specific training are not as holistically strong as other athletes that also train strength and conditioning and are thus more likely to get and remain injured. This is proven by a study conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, that found that student athletes that only train for one specific sport where twice as likely to report a lower extremity injury than those who incorporated strength and conditioning training or played multiple sports (https://www.nfhs.org/articles/study-indicates-higher-injury-rates-for-athletes-who-specialize-in-one-sport/). These injuries can be extremely costly to student athletes, with recovery times often lasting around 4-6 months. This downtime can mean the difference between playing on a division one team and an intramural team in college.
If you are looking for a way to help your student athlete unlock their full potential and become the best athlete they can be, it is time to start incorporating strength and conditioning programs into their training regimen. At Occoquan Bay Performance, we offer an afterschool program and summer camp that focus on helping your athlete reach their full potential through strength, conditioning, agility, speed and high intensity interval training. OBP also helps student athletes learn how to recover properly and avoid costly injuries. If your child has the drive to become a top-tier athlete, consider applying for the OBP after school program and/or summer camp and allow them to reach their full potential through world class training.
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