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Dispelling the myths surrounding youth resistance training

This weeks blog comes from Joshua Dragone. Josh is a member of our Football Fitness Online Community & is a performance coach working with many players. Josh has written a blog to dispel the myths surrounding youth resistance training.

 

Youth resistance training come a long way in recent years and there is now compelling evidence to support strength training amongst youths.

However, having worked in youth sport I often noticed that the myths surrounding youth resistance training are still out there.

This post will identify a number of questions/myths that I have received during my time working with youth athletes.

 

 

Myth #1: Strength training will stunt the growth and cause injury to children

 

This is always one of the first questions I get asked and tends to be based on opinion or what’s been heard. In fact, strength training actually inflicts less compressive force on the joints compared to other sports involving running and jumping. Strength training has been shown to prevent injuries to bones and growth plates by strengthening bones, ligaments and tendons. Also there have been a number of studies that show injuries associated with strength training are less common than injuries occurred when playing sports such as football, rugby, basketball or gymnastics.

See what your body can go through in these sports below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7GWGHTkMlM

 

Myth #2: Strength training is unsafe for children

 

This misconception comes from extremely poor and misinterpreted data from the 1960s and 70s and has had a serious negative impact on youth strength training since.

I also believe that there is a misconception as to what S&C in youths looks like most people tend to think that strength training has to mean lifting extremely heavy weight. However, this isn’t the case, particularly for youth programmes. Training with bodyweight or light free weights with proper lifting technique can provide a great, safe, effective foundation of strength.

 

Myth #3: Strength training is only for young athletes

 

It’s a common one I hear in that ‘oh, my son/daughter isn’t that serious about the sport just yet so there is no need for strength training’ Youth strength training is highly beneficial for developing physical qualities such as strength, power, speed etc. which can help kids be involved in life long sport. Even though there is a huge amount of evidence around the physical development of adolescence, having worked with youth athletes for a number of years there are also huge psycho-social benefits. Adolescence don’t just benefit from getting bigger and stronger but also gain improvements in their self-confidence, self awareness, develop social skills to name a few.

 

 

As coaches when we hear these common myths it can be very frustrating as the time and effort that has been put in can often be disregarded. However, these situations can be an ideal time for coaches to educate parents, players and coaches on the potential benefits of resistance training whether it be via workshops for parents or even just a conversation.

Times are slowly changing in my opinion and parents, teachers, coaches are beginning to recognize the potential physical and psychosocial benefits that resistance training bring.

 

Regular participation in a S&C programme is a perfectly safe and an enjoyable type of training for adolescents. As long as training is focused on development technical competency and age-appropriate guideline are met and followed by qualified coaches.

 

 

Josh is a 24-year-old strength and conditioning coach with a specific interest in youth athletic development. He graduated from the University of South Wales and is currently studying a Masters in Strength and Conditioning at Cardiff Metropolitan University. He is currently the lead S&C coach at Swansea Tennis Academy and previously worked at Cardiff City FC, Aberystwyth Town FC and Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey Juniors.

 

Twitter - @JoshDragone1

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