youths

Guest Post: 5 Lacrosse Life Lessons

Check out my guest post at TeamSnap today for 5 life lessons young men and women can learn from playing lacrosse!

https://blog.teamsnap.com/general-sports/5-lessons-young-athletes-learn-from-lacrosse

It’s off-season time for spring lacrosse and you want to make sure to get the most out of your training! While you’re here, check out my off-season training resources for lacrosse and drop me a comment if you have any questions.

6 Fundamental Skills for Lacrosse

General Off-Season Guide

2015 Off-Season Conditioning Plan

Footwork and Agility Drills

Basic Stickwork Demo

All Lacrosse Articles

5 Reasons You Should Try Rowing

Check out my guest post at TeamSnap for 5 reasons you should give this awesome sport a shot.

https://blog.teamsnap.com/general-sports/five-reasons-your-young-athlete-should-try-rowing

There’s no time like the present! Learn to Row Day is coming up this Saturday with activities all over the world. More info at the links below.

US Rowing / Rowperfect UK

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5 Reasons You Should Try Rowing

Check out my guest post at TeamSnap for 5 reasons you should give this awesome sport a shot.

https://blog.teamsnap.com/general-sports/five-reasons-your-young-athlete-should-try-rowing

There’s no time like the present! Learn to Row Day is coming up this Saturday with activities all over the world. More info at the links below.

US Rowing / Rowperfect UK

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Sport Specialization Is Not the Answer

Will Ruth

I posted an article on Facebook a month ago summarizing many of the problems with youth sports and explaining a few ways that youth and high school coaches could improve the situation. The article was “Does Youth Sports Get the Math All Wrong?” by John O’Sullivan from the Changing the Game Project. Many commenters on the article agreed, but one nonbeliever stuck out. They said, “How do you expect part-time HS coaches to actually do any of this?” and suggested that it would be, “like a Harvard Skytte prize-winning professor coming to 3rd grade to teach quantum physics.”

I know a thing or two about a thing or two, and haven’t gotten a Skytte prize for either of them, but here’s what this part-time HS coach does. First, let’s cover research-based evidence of youth sport specialization vs. non-specialization, or “multilateral” development.

#1: “Don’t force, expect, or encourage early specialization”

I encourage all of my athletes to play other sports in the off-season. I don’t leave the “why” up to them—expecting children or HS athletes to read between the lines is a road to frustration. I always played multiple sports, so I talk about what I personally learned and how I applied it from sport to sport. Lead them through it and draw comparisons between their sport and others. Most young athletes won’t see the strategic similarities between soccer and lacrosse or similar skillsets between wrestling and football until you explain it a bit. (more…)

Overtraining, Part II

Will Ruth

In All About Overtraining, we discussed common symptoms and causes of overtraining. To repeat, overtraining shouldn’t be feared, but it is important to understand the symptoms and possible solutions to make training adjustments. A lack of understanding of the balancing act of training and recovery can lead to needless frustration. I have experienced it myself, and seen it in other athletes. Times aren’t improving, body mass is decreasing, the constant feel of being sore and fatigued—rather than get caught in the frustrating loop of not knowing what minor training variable has gone wrong, take a look at your training and recovery more broadly. This part will discuss some other training considerations with regard to overtraining.

First, what do athletes who must maintain a certain bodyweight for a weight-class sport do? The subject of lightweights is complicated and made more so by issues of competitiveness at higher levels and college scholarships. I will say that there is a common misconception in many weight-class sports that lighter is always better. I wrestled and rowed lightweight in high school and can tell you that this is not always the case, especially for younger athletes. I would encourage any athlete under 18-years old to compete lightweight for no longer than it is comfortable to maintain that weight. At the point where calorie restriction and weight-cutting measures beyond slight day-of restrictions are necessary, it may become detrimental to performance in both the short and long-term, as the mental and physical cost of cutting weight becomes greater than the benefit of competing in a lighter class. (more…)

Rowing Chat Podcast Recap

Will Ruth

In case you missed it, here is the link to the Rowing Chat with Rowperfect. Also available for free on iTunes and Soundcloud. These are really great resources for coaches and rowers. There are 30+ more episodes with other rowing coaches, rowers, and experts in the field, all available for free on iTunes, youtube, and Soundcloud.

Have more questions for me? Drop a line in the comments and I will respond!

1:50–About “Rowing Stronger”

2:45–What should a coach do before introducing strength training?

3:50–Should you test 1 rep maxes before each season?

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Youth Sports Training

Will Ruth

Main Takeaways

  1. Young athletes can benefit greatly from strength training, including improved motor control, superior coordination, better movement mechanics, decrease of injury risk, and building habits of mental focus and physical discipline.

  2. Commonly cited problems with youth strength training usually result from poor instruction, coaching, or misuse of equipment rather than the actual training itself. There are many misconceptions surrounding youth training with regard to health and effectiveness.

  3. Focus on maximizing enjoyment and mastery of the basic common athletic patterns—squat, press, pull, hinge, and carry.

First, let’s clear up some of common misconceptions about youth strength training.

#1: Lifting weights causes damage to growth plates and ultimately stunts growth and adult height.

  • This myth has been around for a while [1], despite much scientific evidence that shows that not only does strength training inflict less compressive force on the joints and injury compared to other sports involving running and jumping [2], but that strength training can help prevent injuries to bones and growth plates [3]. This myth is also the result of a misconception of what youth strength training really looks like, as most people think that strength training has to mean heavy lifting and straining against maximal weights. This is not at all the case, especially for youths, and training with bodyweight or light free weights can provide a great, safe, effective foundation of strength for a young beginner athlete. “The rare case reports of epiphyseal [growth] plate fractures related to strength training are attributed to misusing equipment, lifting inappropriate amounts of weight, using improper technique, or training without qualified adult supervision [4].”

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