What Skills Do You Need To Develop?
Every young athlete is a unique snowflake in a sense of the word - as what they need to do to develop themselves into the athlete they desire to become will be different to their best friend, and others on their teams. For instance, one starting pitcher may require lower body power & strength to push off from, whereby the other may need more muscular endurance, especially around their throwing shoulder... and this, in turn, reflects the skills that should be focused on developing...
Cookie cutter approaches do not have young athletes best interests at heart, plain and simple. It's a disservice to the phenomenal young athletes of the world. And they deserve better than that...
If we were to take a look at the future and the athletes we desire to become... the teams we want to make... we can begin to sculpt and develop ourselves into becoming those people. And from a coaches perspective, there's an array of skills we can help young athletes develop, and this is where all of our attention should be turned to
And these skills are ones that young athletes should always be mindful of - as they form the base of all the great athletes who have come before us. They're the base that all of their sport-specific skills have been built upon. And they include:
- Strength (physical & mental) - the maximal force you can apply against a load & overcome resistance
- Aerobic Capacity - ability to exercise continuously for extended periods without tiring
- Work Capacity - the ability to tolerate a workload and recover from that workload
- Muscular Endurance - ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time
- Explosiveness/Power - ability to exert a maximal amount of force in the shortest possible time interval
- Speed - ability to move quickly across the ground or move limbs rapidly to grab or throw
- Agility - ability to quickly change body position or direction of the body, and is also influenced by body balance, coordination, the position of the center of gravity, as well as running speed and skill
- Acceleration - the rate of change in velocity & the sprint performance over smaller distances such as 5m or 10m, and assessed using sprint time or velocity
- Cognitive Enhancement - staying mentally on task under heavy fatigue & stress to limit mistakes late in games and enhance decision making
If you were to think about where you need to develop yourself as a young athlete & then look at this list, what three skills are your biggest strengths... and what are the ones that you need to develop
This is the starting point. As once identified, a plan can then be put in place so that those skills can be developed
Here at The Academy, we break these 9 skills down into smaller fragments to help get very specific with our phenomenal young athletes. And we also adopt a very basic, simplistic nature to them when it comes to exercise selection & progression - as the young athletes training age needs to be taken into account first & foremost
So, young athlete, when you look at that list, what are your biggest strengths, and what areas do you need to develop to become that athlete you aspire to become... the one who's playing 1st grade, or rep, or higher...
And now, how are you going to develop them... get to work