Doesn’t it often seem that most of the questions of life are “either-or” propositions? Do you want vanilla or chocolate? Should you go to the beach or the woods? Should you watch TV or play a game? It makes sense, we cannot have or do everything, and yet when you are considering a football training program for youth, it is actually unwise to make it an either-or proposition.
What does that mean? Just consider the title of this article – should youth football train for speed and strength? Is it one or the other? The answer is a resounding no. It is never the either-or situation. Instead, it boils down to using training that is going to fine tune athletic ability.
Essentially, any football training program for youth (worth its effort) is going to improve ability, speed, reaction times, position skills, game play, and strength. It is going to be the ultimate in conditioning. Yet, it must also take into account one major factor – the physical status of the players.
Adults are radically different from youths. As one expert in youth football training says, “Youth athletes are still growing. Their muscles and bones, as well as the tendons and ligaments that hold them together, have not reached maturity. And this means that all training has to first look at safety and supervision if it is to provide the desired outcomes.
For instance, resistance training is a safe activity to integrate into a football training program for youth, but traditional strength training strategies may not be appropriate for kids of the high school ages. Instead, what kids training programs should emphasize is an ongoing (year round) level of activity that is enhanced by targeted forms of free play and lightly structured training. This is going to help the youth to enjoy gains in endurance and strength that do not put their growing bodies under any stress or strain. For example, they should be encouraged to play other sports, do some swimming and cycling, and integrate basic strengthening work into their routine.
They can safely do high knees, pushups, pull ups, mountain climbers and sit-ups to enjoy the kind of effective training needed. At SASSportsPerformance.com, the football training program for youth looks at individual performance and sport-specific activities to help develop potential, and ensure players are flexible, strong, fast, agile and prepared to achieve their personal goals within the sport.
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