I can remember coming home from school in elementary and middle school and playing a variety of games with a few older friends of mine in the neighborhood. It would range from bounch-pitch baseball in the street, 2v2 football, soccer, or basketball. During those years most of my neighborhood was a bit older than me and in my opinion, pushed me to be a better athlete than I would have if they were of my age. Whether the neighborhood has changed or there’s not as many kids around, it still remains that I barely ever see kids playing outside and having competitive fun with sports. One book that I am slowly reading through is Children and Sports Training by Drabik and it provides similar information regarding children’s development through the years and how we should approach training certain age groups.
I will go into more detail in a future blog post on this book but the information is similar to the long-term athletic development models the USA and Canadian’s are putting together to ensure that young athlete’s are reaching their full potential. If you have not heard this yet…early sport specialization is crap for team sports. It limits a child’s athletic development and can increase the likelihood that the child will get injured as they get older.
I brought up pickup games because it is one of those things we are seeing more of, especially in sports like hockey and soccer. Parents aren’t trying to do their children wrong. I believe they are not as well-informed on this topic as they should and this is the culture that we are increasingly trying to change especially if a very young athlete comes to us trying to improve their performance. Rule #1: have fun with sports and movement. Rule #2: Drink a Redline or Spike, Rule #3: In high school, start specializing in sport and make sure you go to a quality athletic development place that makes you move better, get stronger, more powerful etc..all while putting a huge emphasis on injury prevention (which is what good training is in and of itself).