Most athletes walk around like ticking time bombs. Muscular and skeletal imbalances along with unstable movement patterns skyrocket risk for injury… Yet no parent comes up to me and asks…
“What are my child’s biggest weaknesses?” It’s always… “How can they run faster… jump higher…. hit harder?” Unfortunately kids are more sedentary than ever before. Posture never seems to be ingrained within any of my athletes, although I don’t blame the parents or the kids.
It’s the lack of pro-level knowledge online today. And typical trainers typically won’t even begin with a basic postural assessment. Before your athlete begins to train, or learn any more “athletic moves” they must go through a posture audit.
Are they leaning to one side when standing?
Do they slouch when they sit?
How long do they sit each day?
Do they sleep on one side?
These are just a few “no-brainer” questions an athletic trainer should go through even before they begin training your athlete.
Because we know typical activities like sitting to do homework, play video games or watch tv promotes mobility and postural issues.
With that knowledge…
It shouldn’t be surprising how many injuries are being developed at such a young age. Injuries have been on the rise from youth athletes specializing in one sport. Repeating the same motion over and over again without proper neuromuscular training, mobility stability, rest and recovery will ultimately lead to injuries.
So here’s the keys on how to build the optimal athletic physique from the ground up...
STEP 1: BUILDING THE FOUNDATION
Everything needs balance. Developmental movements should make up the majority of your child’s training program. Those include:
1. Running/locomotion (sprints)
2. Jumping (box jumps, Jump Rope)
3. Crawling (bear crawls)
4. Climbing (Indoor rock climbing for grip strength)
5. Isometric holds (Variation of planks)
Don’t overlook isometric holds. Our core strength is the basis of all other movement and energy generated throughout the body.
Moving the body through space should be the foundation of any athletic program. Once bodyweight movements are mastered and the neuromuscular system is stimulated then they can begin to add other weighted movements.
[Remember: Gymnasts don’t need weights to build their muscular development, strength and speed to an Olympic level.]
STEP 2: BALANCE BASIC MOVEMENT PATTERNS
Once your child has build a foundation of strength and stability their training protocol can add the fundamentals of movement with body weight and even some weight training. It’s important to note that we don’t move to weight training before we master body weight movements.
Knee Dominant - Lunge, Split Squat, Squat
Horizontal Pull - TRX ROW
Vertical Pull – Pull Up
Horizontal Push - Push Up
Hip Dominant - Single Leg Hip Thrusts, Deadlift
Vertical Push - Shoulder Press
STEP 3: AVOID BURNOUT AND REDUCE INJURIES
Avoid Burnout and Reduce Injuries
Expand their time over multiple sports. Movement patterns from soccer will improve baseball performance, lacrosse will improve football… and so on. There’s a correlation between injury and repetitive motion.
Baseball ( Elbow, shoulder)
Basketball ( Knees, ankles)
Football (...just about anything)
The body needs a new stimulus, and to round out it’s weaknesses with more movement patterns.
Make sure you child is involved in multiple sports or trains their movements through gymnastics, yoga, or at least gym based training.
There should be a variety of movements balanced around those shared in STEP 1. Playing multiple sports will do more than just lower risk of injury. Multi-sport athletes learn how to communicate better, skyrocket in-game IQ, and even problem solving,
TEP 4: INTRODUCE A FEEDBACK LOOP
Feedback is one of the key, yet missing elements of any training protocol. Without feedback the athlete won’t be able to engage their muscles optimally.
It’s called [neuro]muscular for a reason. The mind-body connection is crucial to build any foundation for athletic performance. Here’s how to engage their mind in critical thinking to shorten the learning curve of any movement or skill:
a. As them what they learned?
b. If they enjoyed the exercise
c. How they felt
d. If they can show you the movements
e. Ask why they were doing it the movement.
Asking questions will engage critical thinking by shift their focus and purpose from “going through the motions” to a high level of understanding. So…
What Does It Really Take To Engineer A D1 Athlete?
Most parents don’t understand the effort needed to earn a D1 scholarship. But you’re not like most parents. You now have been armed with what is truly possible in our modern world and the actions you need to take to ensure your athlete’s success.
Are You Willing To Overlook This Information?
Remember: Your child must develop their skills, potential, and craft outside of their sport. It begins in the mind, then it expands through their utrition, recovery (sleep, meditation, etc) and movement. The competition for a D1 scholarship is rising with new advances in sports and athletic training. It’s your choice if you want to be one step ahead or stuck in the past.
So let me ask…
Do you have the nutritional know how to fuel their performance with the right meals, vitamins, minerals, nutrients and supplements to replicate a professional or Olympic level?
Have you designed their bedroom and bedtime habits around recovery specialists like those who train Michael Phelps or the most successful athletes around the world? Does your athlete understand how they fuel their body will affect their strength, recovery, focus, happiness and most importantly in-game performance?
Has your child built a sound mind that is capable of overcoming any stressful event in and out of the game?
Can they handle stress like MJ, Kobe, or Jeter?
Do they know how to silence the fear of failure, and channel their confidence into unrivaled performance?
Remember: Improving our nutrition, mindset, and movement are habits some of the most successful individuals on earth have in common. These behaviors will not only transform Hall-of-Famers and elite college athletes, it’ll also do the same for your son or daughter.
Altering epigenetics (the way we express our genes) will give your child the advantage you NEVER had.
So now the choice is yours.
Stick to the old ways or learn the new way to engineer athletes of the future.
Until Next Time, Joe Giangrasso