May 18 2015

Training for Youth Athletes…It’s All About Movement

Training for Youth Athletes…It’s All About Movement

The Vail Valley provides a great environment for young athletes to be active and healthy.  Our natural terrain is suited to developing skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and trail runners.  We have wonderful organizations for youth soccer and lacrosse.   But what are the important training aspects to help our children succeed in their respective sport?  What training protocols are essential to propel them to become better overall athletes and minimize injury?   

Foundational movement development should be at the core of any aspiring young athletes approach to training.   What do sports trainer specialists mean by Foundational Movements?  There are fundamental athletic movement skill patterns that are essential in nearly every sport.   Athletes that learn and master these at a young age have a much higher degree of success in their sports but also have better awareness of their bodies in space and lower incidence of injury.   Learning these skills at younger ages is also beneficial as it’s during developmental stages of their central nervous and musculo-skeletal systems.   These skills not only help in their athletics but also carry over into healthier postures and movements in their adult lives.

Key movements such as squatting, hip hinging, femoral stabilization, posture in movement, thoracic rotation and bounding can all be learned early and safely.  This creates the highest probability for success for a strong athletic season and long-term improvement.   These movements can be learned and perfected without heavy loads as the young athlete masters the coordination, strength, balance, mobility and stability necessary to move in the most athletic and efficient manner.  

We see many youth athletes come into Dogma Athletica that have moderate success in their respective sports.  But when we put them through an assessment we can quickly see where there are deficiencies in strength or movement quality that limit their athletic potential or manifest themselves in a sports related injury.   One area in particular for many youth athletes is an inability to control eccentric loads or compression.  This is key for snow sports athletes, soccer and lacrosse players.  Skiers and snowboarders who are limited in this ability have difficulty controlling the G-forces in an aggressive, dynamic turn or sticking a landing.   They are at risk for compression injuries as the joints or low back take the load instead of creating the necessary tension in the muscular system.   Most training methods focus just on the ability to produce force, but they overlook the youth athletes’ ability to resist force and properly decelerate a load.   Without this ability the athlete is at an increased risk for injury.  

We have found high levels of success in improving these young athletes overall skills and basic movements.   It directly translates to improved sport specific success and lower incidence of injury.   One of our youth athletes, Becker Dienst, 13, has found dramatic improvement in his lacrosse play.   His father Ryan says, “Becker displays much more confidence on the field, he is able to initiate contact and play against larger opponents.  He holds his core strong and doesn’t lose his balance.  His running technique looks better too after going through this programming.  It’s been very powerful for him.”  

Dogma Athletica is holding a Foundational Movement Program for Youth Athletes. This program will be lead by one of Dogma Athletica’s head trainers and certified Athletic Trainer Bryan Maroney.   Bryan has an extensive background in training and developing youth athletes.   This program will begin the week of June 1st when Eagle County schools are off for summer break.   It will run for a 6-week session and will have groups for athletes ages 12-14 and 15-17.   

Our system and methodology is based on the purposeful integration of

*Balance

*Coordination

*Athletic movement

*Athletic strength

Participants can expect  

*Build athleticism and the communication between the mind and body

*Build the foundations of strength development and reduce the risk of specific injury

*Consolidate sport specific skills

*Build confidence, social skills, and work ethic

*Fun, positive and motivating environment

This program will have a small group focus with an ideal coach to athlete ratio so all participants get a high level of instruction.  

If you have interest in obtaining a spot for your youth athlete in Dogma Athletica’s Foundational Movement Program call Dogma Athletica at 970-688-4433 or email head trainer Bryan Maroney at bryan@dogmaathletica.com. 

Rod Connolly is an exercise physiologist, trainer and owner of Dogma Athletica in Edwards