Training For Youth Athletes, it's Not All About "The Grind"
Parents and coaches come in all the time and we hear the same thing "I Want you to kill them today!". There is the conception out there that a workout always has to be the most exhausting activity that you have ever encountered. And you guessed it, I'm here to tell you that is absolutely wrong, ESPECIALLY for youth athletes.
Here at UAP, we are training athletes to be better athletes. We look at what athletes do in most field sports. They MOVE. This means that biomechanics and technique of movement has to be, and is the main focus of our workout. "The Grind" does not teach this at all.
Young athletes have it made when It comes to learning new skills. Their brains are like sponges that absorb information and sort it out to make complex information very simple. This is the same reason why young kids can learn a new language very easily compared to an adult. This same concept is used when learning neuromuscular motor patterns. The number one cause of injury and lack of performance is lack of proper technique of a skill, such as sprinting or changing direction. This is why it is so important to teach proper technique right off the bat in an athlete's career.
Now back to why "The Grind" is not as important as people make it out to be. When learning any new skill, the athlete should not be exhausted nor in a high intensity situation. Technique breaks down under these two conditions. Since technique and correct biomechanics is the most important thing to teach a young athlete, then why would you do it under the worst possible circumstances? When I'm teaching an athlete how to sprint, I would rather run 8 perfect sprints with 2 minutes rest in between each sprint, rather than 15 sprints with 30 seconds rest in between. The athlete that runs those 15 sprints, is going to be very tired, not focused on learning a new skill, and each sprint will look like complete garbage. When the athlete masters the new skill in a low intensity situation, then we can start adding intensity and work on maintaining technique in more uncontrolled situations.
Athletes that learn how to move in a biomechanically sound manner, under perfect conditions, will without a doubt, outperform and stay healthier much longer than the athlete that goes into every single workout grinding every rep with the goal to become completely exhausted with no focus on technique. Now, I'm not saying that getting an athlete's heart rate up in a workout is bad. It is actually very good for a young athlete to develop a stronger heart. All I'm saying is that perfect technique, when it comes to movement patterns does not start with "The Grind", it starts with "The Technique". Intensity is added later, rather than first.