A strong parental response is crucial to counteract the lifestyle changes we have all had to make the last four months. These changes have pulled the rug out from under our kids activities and active lifestyles. The prescription is athletic training to build physical confidence, which will lead to a better mental state. This is real, and there is nothing less than the future health of the nation on the line.
Now it’s time to get more specific. Having run the top athletic training center in the region for over nine years, I can see clearly how the fitness levels of kids has evolved, and it’s not good. The young ones (we start at 7) are still pretty good athletically and from a body composition standpoint. The problem starts creeping in at around 10, and intensifies through puberty for most kids.
The Problem? Lack of strength.
Kids are getting weaker, and specifically weaker in the areas they need most to be good athletes. The area I speak of is what we call the “Posterior Chain.” Basically the Posterior Chain is all the muscles that run from the back of your ears to the back of your heals. Even more specifically, I am referring to the Thoracic Spine, the area and muscles of the mid and upper back. This region is crucial to maintaining proper posture. Without posture, you will not get power. Strength down the back of your spine allows the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps to fully engage to create the power needed to move explosively. Every day we see kids who cannot execute a broad jump without falling forward and losing balance due to lack to strength.
The answer is in the weight room.
It is fairly easy to teach our Parisi Speed techniques and have kids improve quickly. But that is only half the battle, and we can teach those at any age. For strength however, the 12-14 year old window for development is an absolute for both girls and boys. You have to hit this window hard! It’s the chemicals people, the same ones that make ’em hairy and smelly and goofy, are the same ones that bring on the muscle. So if you want your kids to be athletic, confident, and look great the rest of their lives, get a bar in their hands! The skill of strength training will stay with them always as well.
So train, and specifically, strength train. Do it all the time! In season, out of season, make it a priority. Just because you have soccer in the evening doesn’t mean you can’t train in the morning. Want your kid to move up the soccer ladder? Get ’em stronger and they will! Baseball? Same thing. This goes for any sport.
In summary, training our kids right now is crucial, and we can literally make ’em stronger in all areas of life.
About the Author: Greg O’Connor, Owner, Champions Sports Performance
A lifelong athlete and former Division II tight end for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Greg fulfilled his true calling in opening Champions Sports Performance in Cornelius in May of 2011. Coming out of Cal Poly, Greg entered the financial markets as a bond trader and over the next 24 years rose to the Managing Director level at two firms. This career took he and his wife of 30 years, Pam, to stops in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Memphis. Greg credits his father, Don O’Connor, for his lifelong passion for training. Don contracted polio in both legs as a teenager, yet he never let it stop him from training, of course, in old school fashion.
Greg also credits many great coaches and mentors throughout his life in shaping who he is today. John Durant, Greg’s high school strength coach who is still training kids today at SLO High, holds a special spot in this group. The dedication, poise, and loyalty Greg learned from Coach Durant are a big part of Champions DNA today.
Mission Statement “To live a life of honor, integrity, and enlightenment…Impart my positive passions to as many people as possible, and those who would benefit the most.”