So… Why do we have our kids play sports?
Youth sports are big money with parents spending over $5 billion per year for sports related activities (Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, Athletic Footwear Association, USA Today). Many of the organizations pray on the parents and young athletes in their dreams of college scholarships and or professional careers. There is nothing wrong with the aspiration to play in college or professionally, however, it must be kept in perspective. The odds of a college or professional career in sports are minuscule. Of the forty five million kids playing youth sports, 1 in 4 youth stars become a stand out in high school. Only 2 to 5 percent of high school athletes go on to play division I or II college sports. The odds are even much smaller to play professionally. The odds of a high school baseball player making it to the MLB is 1 in 4,000, high school football players making the NFL is 1 in 6,000, and a high school basketball player making the NBA is 1 in 10,000 (Scholarship Stats.com; Athletes Going Pro, NCAA.org).
However, sports participation can be a countermeasure to a sedentary lifestyle which is clearly prevalent and dangerous. Regular physical activity and exercise benefits children in many ways, including helping build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints; helping control weight and reduce fat; preventing or delaying the development of high blood pressure and other diseases. Sports participation and exercise can lead to enhanced concentration, improved grades and higher standardized test scores. Sports can help in character and personal development such as; improving self-esteem, increasing confidence, proper goal-setting, leadership and dealing with winning and losing. (GAO, 2012).
Ultimately, youth sports participation and exercise should lead to a life-long passion for physical activity and fitness. Adolescents who play sports are 8 times more likely to be active at age 24 (Sports Participation as Predictors of Participation in Sports and Physical Fitness Activities in Young Adulthood, Perkins, 2004).
The “Train 2 Play Sports Method” can help coaches, teachers, parents and trainers to teach proper physical literacy and improved athleticism through basic movement patterns to increase “relative maximum strength” (maximum strength relative to the Child or adolescence body) of the child or adolescent. Once the child or adolescent has their base of “relative maximum strength”, exercises can be progressed to improve power, explosiveness, quickness, agility, and acceleration/deceleration. The goal is to make an athlete first. These improved physiological components could improve sports performance, make the athlete less susceptible to injury, and create a lifelong passion for exercise and movement to maintain health and prevent disease.
In Train 2 Play Sports, we will address the research to answer the questions related to youth and adolescent training. Is exercise safe for young people? Is exercise effective in preventing injury? Is exercise effective in enhancing sports performance? What exercises are best? How do I improve strength, coordination, speed, agility, power, quickness?
The goa is that the coach, parent, teacher, trainer, and health care provider can read and apply the principles of exercise to their children, adolecent and or adult athletes to improve their athleticism, enhance performance and prevent injury.