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Young Athlete development at the Better Body Group

An interview with young athlete specialist and coach, Charlie Hawkins.

Young athlete development (YAD) is a programme run here at the Better Body Group that provides children from all backgrounds with a safe and supportive environment to learn the fundamentals of weight/resistance training that they could then apply to both sporting and lifestyle situations.

On the YAD programme we currently have a range of young athletes with various motives as to why they attend the classes, from wanting to improve athletic performance to just wanting to learn how to lift safely. We are extremely privileged to be able to provide all children with the means to increase their confidence and self-esteem, while developing healthy habits for them to take not only into sport but into adulthood too.

Is resistance training safe for children?
Now this is a question our YAD team quite rightly gets asked regularly and the answer is absolutely! Resistance training is safe for children so long as it is appropriately supervised and in a safe manner. Technique and form must be the number one priority for anyone when learning weightlifting and this especially goes for children too. At BBG, only once form has been perfected do we allow slow progressive overload to occur to encourage the young athletes to also adopt the principle of form > weight/reps.

Still not sure whether to take my word for it?
The UK Strength and Conditioning Association have reviewed countless published articles around the safety of resistance training for children and they all have one thing in common; that compared to nearly every sport from football to combat sports, from hockey to gymnastics, that resistance training (RT) has far less reported injuries than the aforementioned activities:

• Children who do not participate in activities that enhance muscle strength and movement skills may be at increased risk of negative health later in life.
• RT is not only safe but may also reduce sports-related injuries.
• RT can elicit noticeable improvements in motor skills, and consequently may positively enhance sports performance.
• RT can improve and maintain psychological health and wellbeing.
• RT can increase muscle mass and bone density for later on in life.
• RT is beneficial for bone mineral accrual and bone formation and growth.

How do kids develop through the YAD classes?
Children that join the YAD programme go through three phases which are designed to take them on a journey, whether that is to the next level of performance or to become confident lifters.

Learning the fundamentals is the primary goal of the programme with the focus on building proficiency in squat, hinge, upper push and pull movement patterns.

Once the foundations have been laid, the young athletes then focus on strengthening those movement patterns before moving onto the final phase of tailoring their programme to their sport or goals.

By Charlie Hawkins. To book an appointment please call them on 01732 451979 or email them at info@betterbodygroup.co.uk.

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