Appropriate Youth Level Training

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Training youth athletes properly starts with teaching them core principles like effort, attention to detail, and accountability. Specific strategies are customized for the athlete and the sport to enhance performance and avoid injuries.

What is the primary focus when working with youth athletes?

Chris Tuttle: For us Fast Twitch Saddle Brook, it’s very important to understand where they’re at in their training or biological age. Some have training experience, some do not. It’s important to make sure you understand and get that baseline of where they’re at. You always want to start with simple exercises of just body weight and move forward with it, always go from simple to complex. It’s extremely the young athletes because they might not have the experience to really understand where they’re at, so you can start them at that base level.

What strategies improve endurance without causing injury?

Chris Tuttle: It’s important to make sure that there is some sort of external stimulus to increase the hypertrophy of the muscle. In other words, to increase the size of the muscle that will help improve the overall quality of the muscle and the movement. As you improve the muscle and the movement, that will improve the endurance of the athlete moving forward protecting them from injury.

How can a young athlete maintain long term success?

Chris Tuttle: In the field, we have this thing, it’s called progressive overload. In other words, periodization. This is where, like I said before, you start from that baseline and you slowly progress forwards to maybe adding some external load or resistant force over time. There’s a certain timeframe that you pick out, whether it be four weeks or six weeks, so it’s all about that consistency moving forward, so they’re not overloaded too much at the beginning. That will prevent some injury. A lot of people will try to do it all on the first day. It’s important to start slow and build your way up. That way, you’re reducing the risk for injury moving forward and that will hopefully maintain that long term success. We know that’s important for them just to start slow at the beginning and move forward, then graduating on to maximal performance.

What core principles do you instill in your clients?

Chris Tuttle: Well, it’s pretty simple for us. We have five things that we really, really preach to the athletes. One is effort. You got to be able to come in every day and bring max effort. Once you get to the training facility, this should be your escape from any other struggles or issues you’re having outside, so come in and bring max effort. Even if you’re feeling down, just give it 100% every day. Attention to detail. Just pay attention to every little thing we’re teaching because everything that we teach is for your help and your purpose to improve you as an athlete. If you could pay attention to those small details, you’re going to improve. Third, techniques or else. Again, that technique and attention to detail kind of go hand in hand together, so you got to pay attention to details to improve your technique and your technique is what’s going to improve you as an athlete and improve your performance.

With the proper technique, that reduction in injury, that’s just really going to show from that. Fourth for us, accountability. You got to be accountable. If you show up late, that’s on you. If you don’t bring your A game, that’s on you. Using strength and conditioning as a tool to compare these athletes for life after athletics, that’s huge in strength and conditioning, so accountability is something we’re really trying to preach to them. Then, dedication, be dedicated. Own what you’re doing. If you’re training for two hours a day, there’s 22 hours outside of the gym that you have in the day. What are you doing to stay dedicated to your craft to bring you to max performance to be the best that you possibly can be.

For us, those are the five things that we really preach. Again, there’s some more things outside of that we preach, but those are our five main points that we really want to push across to young athletes. If you can get that across to them at a young age, as they grow they’re going to be extremely successful.

In what way is overall performance optimized?

Chris Tuttle: Again, it just goes hand in hand with our five points that I discussed in the previous question. It’s about being consistent and following your workout regimen to a tee. That includes the two hours that you’re training and also the other hours in the day that you’re outside and making sure you’re following the program, the diet, the nutrition. What are you putting into your body? Are you taking care of your body when you’re at home or are you putting the wrong things in there to hold back your training? If you can be dedicated and you can really be consistent with what you’re doing, you’re going to set yourself up for success. If you don’t and you slack off when you’re outside and you’re not dedicated, then a lot of the times, I don’t want to say it’s wasted time, but you’re holding yourself back from reaching that top point.

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