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Getting Kids Back to the Basics

March 14, 2014 4:17pm | CORE PT & MC | by CORE Movement Specialists 

Growing up in today’s sports world can be tough on kids and parents.  Competition is fierce and sport specialization has become main stream.  Unlike professional athletes, many kids no longer have an off season.  While we applaud kids for being active; we like our peers featured in the attached article worry about what this means for the masses.  We're concerned about the long term implications of the current sporting trends on injury risk, movement health across the lifespan, and performance optimization.       

At CORE we specialize in movement assessment and training.  For us, it's not CAN you move but HOW you move that matters!  You’d be surprised at the number of competitive athletes who can’t efficiently decelerate a jump, squat correctly or do a push-up without falling apart.  Kids must learn to efficiently control their body weight and hone their proprioceptive awareness while their tissues are young and less susceptible to injury.  Kids used to develop these skills in P.E. class and unstructured play activities but the push towards sport specialization has changed our perception of exercise, limited diversity of motor control development and increased repetitive use injuries in today’s youth. 

In recent years, strength and power training have dominated sport development programs with little or no emphasis on the quality of control with which youth athletes decelerate body movements.  These training practices in conjunction with the motor development limitations of sport specialization are a recipe for injury in the youth athlete.   Body control is the foundation on which all future sport skills must build upon.  Larry Meadors who is a strength and conditioning coach with the National Association of Strength & Fitness put it best in his article Yes Kids are Stars on the Playing Field, but Can They do a Push-Up?  “We all learned the alphabet, and as we learned the alphabet we learned how to put two letters and then three and then four to form words, and pretty soon we had a word, a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a book. And you should apply the same things for athletics.”  According to Meadors’ article, more than 3.5 million kids 14 and under are treated annually for sports injuries, and the numbers are increasing. More than half of all youth sports injuries are preventable. In about half the cases, the injuries are associated with overuse, often linked with the growing trend of children specializing in one sport and playing year-round. 

At CORE our passion is helping consumers navigate the misconceptions out there.  When it comes to your kids we recommend 1) variety to ensure development of a diverse movement repertoire, 2) rest to avoid overuse injuries in developing tissues and 3) a comprehensive and balanced training approach.  Successful athletes not only possess strength, speed, power, flexibility and a strategic understanding of the game.  They also possess keen body awareness and the ability to control the compressive and shear forces placed on the body during sport participation.  Ensure your kids have adequate control so that they can be successful movers as youth athletes AND throughout their lifespan.  


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