What is the difference between the body of a college freshman and the body of a high school senior? Maybe a year of growth, maybe little to no difference at all. College athletics stress the importance of athletes training in a weight room. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires division I programs hire Strength & Conditioning Coaches that have at a minimum:
· a college degree
· a nationally accredited certification
· first aid, CPR, and AED certification
High school athletes are under the very same stress as those playing at the higher levels. Due to the difference in standards however, these athletes are just not as prepared to handle the stress placed on their bodies. It is this lack of preparation that leads to injury. Here are several reasons why younger athletes need to be in the weight room!
In a progressive training program, athletes can tackle weak muscle groups, improve inter and intra-muscular coordination, and learn to generate greater forces in a safe setting. Increasing absolute strength is a great way to improve explosiveness, speed, and overall athletic conditioning. Every athlete is looking for an edge on the playing field, you can get that edge utilizing the barbell.
Injuries happen over time. Muscle imbalances can cause poor athletic postures that will lead to ineffective joint function and pain. Strengthening weaker tissues will decrease the development of muscle imbalances and therefore promote healthy joint function. Simply put, healthy athletes play, injured athletes can’t play to their fullest potential or don’t play at all.
Competition does not always go as planned. The weight room is no different. Again, in a safe environment, athletes can learn how to function in sub optimal conditions. Learning and understanding your strength can be extremely beneficial, allowing a mental edge and increased confidence during competition.
World renowned Strength Coach, Charles Poliquin recently said in an interview, “Improving your squat, improving your deadlift, improving your chins, and improving pressing will take care of 80% of what you need.” We are in complete agreement with this statement. Getting more middle school and high school athletes into the weight room will better enable them to achieve success despite the stress of sport.