For athletes, developing fundamental movement skills is essential to achieving their potential in a chosen sport. For example, if a young athlete cannot perform a basic squat properly, they will not be as effective in sports that require lower body strength and speed. The Totum Youth Training Academy has been created to help young athletes develop the many movement skills that will allow them succeed in two primary ways:
This comprehensive program is designed to address many issues that are missed with sport-specific training—things such as mobility work, movement assessments, nutrition and even mental training. We also spend a significant part of each training program discussing the importance of recovery techniques as a strategy for injury prevention.
One of the main goals of this program is to help each young athlete enjoy activity more, feel more confident about their training techniques, and hopefully stay engaged in sports for the rest of their lives. We all know how important this is.
It is important to begin with an assessment of movement patterns in each athlete. This will let us know what their strengths are and what areas we need to focus on over the once-weekly, ten-week program. This is done at least once annually so we understand how their bodies have changed due to growth, injury or simply improvements in movement.
During the training portion, we will focus on speed, agility, balance, hand–eye coordination, strength, mobility and flexibility, along with cardiovascular and muscular endurance. The ages of the participants range from 11 years old to 18 years old. We also include a nutrition education component to this training. We want to develop good eating habits in our groups in a fun, relaxed environment.
We are interested in helping to develop youth in a complete, fun way while avoiding the trap of specialization. We have come to understand that focusing too much on any one physical activity at a young age can lead to decreased enjoyment and, in many cases, burnout.
You can read more about the importance of teaching youth about physical literacy in this interview Stacy Irvine conducted with Active For Life magazine.