As a coach of youth athletes at At my gym, the Boost Performance Center in Corona CA, I often think about the many advantages this generation of kids have in terms of access, and opportunities to refine their skills. This is especially true in areas where sports are ultra competitive like here in the Corona Norco area. Whether it be football, baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, or softball, every high school in this area has a sports program that is not just competitive, but one of the best in the state. With that being said, this community is a bit crazy when it comes to athletic development and it can be easy for parents to push their kids to a point where sports are no longer about the fun, and this can be dangerous. Here’s what else parents should be doing to maximize the child’s development as a youth athlete.
#3 Weekly Training Should Not Exceed Your Child’s Age
This tip comes right from the National Athletic Trainers Association, and I couldn’t agree more. An example of this is if an athlete is 12 years old a parent should limit the hours they spend practicing and training for their sport to 12 hours a week. As limiting as this might sound to some, this is a good recommendation intended to help prevent burnout amongst young athletes, & keep them healthy year round. As a business owner, I understand that it might sound crazy to endorse this, but I can’t tell you how many of my athletes have to take time off from athletic development because they get hurt from continuously participating in their sport. I truly believe the culture that exists for young athletes needs to change and give kids the time off they need to rest, recover, be kids, and yes when they’re ready partake in a strength and conditioning program to improve athletic performance.
#4 Get In Shape to Play Sports
On top of running my gym I also donate my time as a youth coach for the local football team, the Corona Chargers (yes I endorse house league sports over clubs). I always find it interesting how many parents decide to place their kids in football for reasons like getting their kids in shape, getting them out of the house, or so they can stop playing video games. Listen, whether its house sports or club committing to a 3-5 month sports program is actually quite serious. I see kids all the time come out to the field and simply can’t handle hell week (an intense week of conditioning where kids need to get in shape to gear up for season). First, the reality is one week isn’t enough to get you in shape to endure an entire season. Second, you get in shape to play sports, not the other way around. You want your kids to be in peak performance for the season, not spend the majority of the season being so gassed that they can’t compete for more than 5 minutes at a time. There’s also a safety factor here as well in that peak performance means building your body to a point where you can withstand months of physicality and repetitive movement. Invest in at least 3 months of strength and conditioning before starting the competitive season, the difference will be night and day.
#5 Start With House Leagues
House league sports are leagues where teams play other teams in the same league and don’t travel outside a limited area for competitions. I endorse this type of play especially for elementary school and middle school athletes. I’ve seen great athletes come from both club and house leagues, I’ve seen players play collegiately from both club and house leagues, and I’ve seen players play professional sports who grew up in club and house leagues. It really boils down to money, whereas clubs are always more expensive. With that being said, parents are usually paying for what they see as the “best”, which usually entails virtually year round seasons, promises of recruitment, and no time off (the recipe for burnout). House leagues just make it about the game, have fun and it’s over. I already committed to keeping my daughter in house leagues at least until I feel like she can handle something more serious. I want her to have fun with sports, and more importantly I want her to have a passion for them.
Some parents already know a lot about what I’ve mentioned here. And these parents, like myself, were probably athletes themselves and have a better understanding of what they need to do to help their kids reach their potential. Other parents don’t have that privilege, and often will throw their money at anyone that promises success to their kids, or do what they feel everyone else is doing. This is insight based on experience, not only as a coach but a former player. Ultimately as parents our control in our kids’ success is limited, but what we can do is help them build a love for their sport because ultimately that will become the fuel that will keep them reaching for the highest heights. – Boostman
Owner, Boost Training Systems in Corona, CA
Level 1 & 2 Coach Bommarito Performance