When to Train Sport Specific

June 10, 2014




Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Serena Williams, all started at a young age which raises the question, who will be the next rising athlete? Many parents believe that their child will be the next top athlete.


Predicting success in athletics is a challenge at any age, and trying to predict an athlete’s future can be similar to playing the lotto.  The days of free play with neighborhood friends seems to be a thing in the past.  Many of our young athletes are specializing in one sport at a very early age in hopes of scholarships, and a professional career.  When looking at our youth we should really be focusing on developing skills that they will use at a older age when they are actually ready to focus on sport specification.


Coaches are constantly pushing their athletes to be faster, stronger, and to jump higher. However, we as trainers believe one should look beyond these skills and work on an exercise plan to make a smarter, and more skilled athlete.  To develop a great athlete, sport specific conditioning must be designed to help the athlete read and react to unpredictable situations.


The specific time frames of sports is also very controversial, however here at Wildly Fit we tend to follow the Long-Term Athlete Development Model (www.ltad.ca). This model provides an excellent summary of growth, maturation, and sport-related research.


Generally children ages 5-10 training should focus on flexibility, sport skills, and speed.  During the early years of puberty there is more opportunity to make improvements on aerobic capacity and speed.  Once puberty has progressed the development of strength should be the focus as well as injury prevention  (13-14 females , 16-18 males).


This summer many of our young athletes will be in either off-season or pre-season, this is a great opportunity to incorporate the sport specific training that they need.  If interested in signing up your child please contact us at  info@wildly-fit.com or call 734-585-5745.