Just get stronger, it cures almost anything.
I have been doing performance enhancement training for quite sometime now. Technically I started in 2006 before I had even finished my degree, primarily working with Jr. High School athletes developing speed and agility. The past 4 years since I have been more involved in the specifics of strength and conditioning along with speed and agility I have been able to truly see the importance of a “strong” athlete. Notice I did not say the word....big, there is quite a difference. I bring up the subject because of the influx of athletes I have seen lately in our strength classes here. I have had quite a few athletes come in that are in that age range of 12-15 years old, with concerns from parents like....”my son used to be really fast, then he grew like 3 inches this summer and now he is kind of in an awkward stage”. There is no shocker here, when the human body goes through such a quick adaption it is very difficult to maintain the same kind of fast twitch explosiveness that once existed. Or the same goes for females, “my daughter was an amazing athlete but since she started to mature her body changed and now she seems as though she doesn’t have that same quick 1st step”. (Not to mention that with most female athletes the risk of a serious knee injury is exponentially increased in comparison to their male peers, so creating strong joints with balanced strength ratios for hamstring and quad development can help shrink those numbers!)
There is one magic cure for these athletes and that is good old fashion quality movement under a barbell(lifting) and with their own body weight (gymnastics). While an athletes body is in the maturing phase, it is necessary to attack training with a high awareness of their durability. Growth plates are beginning to close, knees are sensitive (many fast sprouters develop osgood schlatters) so it is my responsibility as a coach to work around these adaptions without doing harm. A quality strength training program can help these young athletes regain control of their body, making them pound for pound stronger with squats, dead lifts, lunges, step ups, push ups, pull ups, ring strength drills like dips and rows, and a series of core strengthening movements.
Another example of calls I’m getting would go something like “I’ve had my son in speed and agility training since he was 9 and now he is 13, he runs with really good technique but I feel like the other kids are beginning to close the gap, or become faster than him, what do you think is the next step?”. My response is simple, enroll him or her in strength classes 3 days a week here and 1 or 2 days a week speed and agility, and we will see where his results go. More often than not, athletes respond by becoming stronger, but as they become stronger they also gain much more explosive power, with that explosive power if the athlete has sound technique.....comes more speed. As athletes grow older, the two go hand and hand....in the beginning of the off season Apex athletes traditionally prioritize their training to be more strength dominant. Most of our clients are strength training 3x week and speed training 1x week, but the closer their competitive season gets the more we will then focus on speed and conditioning and allow the strength training to taper more into a maintenance phase.
Successful training for athletes is all about creating a healthy balance of what they need, we recognize that here at Apex and apply it to best suit the individual.