It’s the start of the season, the teams are made and cuts are over. You look at the team and you see all the kids who are hyped up for the new season. You feel the energy bouncing off the walls as kids are ready to crush out another jam packed season full of countless practices and games. This team is ready to go all the way to the championship.
You blink and before you know it, its over half way through the season and the playoffs, championships, or provincials are just around the corner. You look over and see a handful of kids who are sidelined with injuries. What good is having a team that is full of skilled and talented players who may have started out unstoppable and were able to set your team ahead at the start, but come the time when the biggest games are just around the corner those exact players are injury ridden, or mentally and physically burnt out and cannot compete.
This is where the importance of enrolling youth into a proper and age appropriate in-season training program kicks in. In-season training programs are crucial for youth athletes in order to help them prevent risk of injuries. Our in-season training programs are built to help athletes find success throughout their season and not just at the start. With proper coaching and specific training guidelines we make sure our athletes are getting exactly what they need without having to worry about them burning out from over exertion. Our programs are aimed to help build overall athleticism by improving and maintaining strength, acceleration and deceleration mechanics, speed, power, balance, mobility, agility, and coordination. It is important for Youth athletes to train 1-3 days a week in order to maintain all these factors. They wont be hitting their best bench marks or hitting their best record at this time, they will be maintaining athletic longevity.
Our programs focus on helping our athletes stay healthy and confident throughout their season. Another important factor that we keep in mind, is that our youth athletes can have many different things on their plates and many different stresses can pile up. As a youth athletics training coach we always have to keep the kids best interests in mind. We have to understand that with the mix of school work, improper sleeping habits, practice and game loads, each day our athletes can be walking in as a new person. MCK Athletics Training & Health has created a scale that helps our athletes determine their work load for that day. The scale consists of three tiers. “Alive, Zombie, and Dead”. Before our athletes start to train we ask them to decided which zone they are in today. “Alive” is our ready to train zone; the athlete is well rested and is prepared to conquer the days program. Our “Zombie” zone is the next level down; the athlete may feel like they aren’t quite up to speed, they are either tired, or feeling less lively then the day before. They may have sore muscles, and may be dealing with some outside stress, or even recovering from an injury. They may feel like they just cant perform at their best today. Tomorrow maybe, but not today. Last but not least is our “Dead” zone; the athlete is exhausted, whether it be from a busy week filled of practices and games or they are battling through an injury. Its so important to listen to our athletes personal goals and help them reach their mark, but it is even more important to help them when the time is needed. Each zone helps us tailor our programs to best suit each individual athlete in their time of need. We will adjust our intensity and volume in our training program to help our athletes find success.
A note to our youth athletes, have a plan! Don’t loose all your gains during the season. Don’t be the one riding the bench or stuck on the side lines. Be the athlete who contributes and makes a difference right up to, and most importantly right through playoffs. Seek out your full potential. Stay happy, stay healthy!
All the best this season,