5 Ways to Increase Athleticism at a Young Age


5 Ways to Increase Athleticism at a Young Age

Young athletes should avoid falling into two categories: not being active enough or being too active in one specific sport. Any form of physical movement is better than watching TV or playing video games. That being said, youth athletes need to develop various movements in all directions, stabilize their joints, and move at different velocities. Children can develop this solid foundation by playing a wide variety of sports or activities.

When athletes focus on and play one specific sport year round, however, they limit themselves to the same motor programs and movement patterns. These athletes rapidly improve at their sport, but peak at an earlier age than a player who does not specialize in one sport. Children who specialize too early also become psychologically fatigued, which can inhibit development of the sport. Ultimately, children need diverse movements for optimal performance.

Some children and their parents think they have mastered their sport at the age of 10, but this is far from the truth. When you ask the child to perform a basic movement skill like skip or crawl, they fail. These limitations will hinder performance as they get older and competition becomes fiercer.

At a young age, children need to learn how to organize games, ride bikes, play tag, climb, jump and crawl through playgrounds. These kinds of games will improve their movement skills. Exposing kids to a wide variety of sports and activities will only increase their ability to move well.

1. Play Multiple Sports: Studies show that the rate of success drastically increases in college with multi-sport athletes. Many college coaches look for well-diversified student athletes.

2. Be Active: Not only will this help in sports, it will hopefully carry over to adulthood. A healthy lifestyle will breed success in sports and one’s profession.

3. Be a Kid: Children should go outside and run, jump, climb, throw and shoot with their friends and family. These are great ways to learn new skills.

4. Try Something New: Trying a new sport or activity will only increase athleticism in a desired sport.

5. Have FUN: Some of the best times in my life were playing with my brothers and friends in pick-up games. All the skills I learned on the court, field and ice made me a better athlete.

by Michael Donoghue & Pete Tormey

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