At some point you were probably a young athlete with aspirations of playing a sport in college or even professionally.
Think back to that time and answer this question as your 15-year-old self.
Would you rather run faster or be less likely to get hurt?
If you were anything like me at a 15-year-old kid, an injury was probably the last thing you cared about. When we’re 15 we are bulletproof. We’re borderline superheroes with mega amounts of hormones flowing through our system that help us grow, recover, and have tons of energy. If you had tried to sell me on injury prevention program, I would have laughed at you and walked away (yes I was a little jerk at 15).
Now, let’s talk about development of speed. If you had asked me at 15 if I wanted to be faster, I would have been all ears. I once spent 6 weeks doing a program to improve my vertical jump when I was 16 years old. My family was living in an apartment in Columbus, Georgia at the time. We had a storage garage in the apartment complex. I would go there everyday over the summer and do different plyometric jumping exercises onto a metal ladder because I didn’t have a box to jump on. I wanted the glory of being able to jump higher, run faster and being an overall better athlete.
Here’s the interesting part about performance improvement and injury prevention. If done correctly, performance improvement and injury prevention are the same exact thing.
Let’s take the example of a 15-year-old female soccer player for this next example. Let’s say that every time she lands or changes direction her knee caves in. This is a strong indicator that this athlete has an increased likelihood of having an ACL tear.
To correct this we can improve landing mechanics, hip strength, foot and ankle control and general body positioning awareness. To do so, this athlete would need to complete a structured program to develop these weaknesses in her athletic movement.
Now on the other hand, an athlete that has knee collapse when they cut will also be slower and less efficient. So, if we take this same athlete through a structured program to decrease their ACL injury risk, they also get faster. This means they will win more ball challenges. They will be able to jump higher and change direction faster. They will become an overall better mover and athlete on the field.
The program is not the hard part. Buy in from the athlete is where the real magic is. If you can get a 15-year-old athlete(tough sell) to buy in on your program, you win.
Buy in is a concept of getting our athletes to do what we want. It’s phrasing things correctly to gain the trust of that athlete. WIth trust comes effort and with effort comes results.
It’s sort of like when I want my 5-year-old son to do something. I could ask him to clean his room and it’s likely that he will do it. Now, if I ask him to clean his room and tell him I’m timing him to see how fast he can do it, I get a much better result. One step further, if I tell him I’m timing him and his sister is cleaning her room at the same time, we now have competition. Competition between kids can be a gold mine of buy in.
If you’re reading this and you have an adolescent kid playing a sport in the Decatur, Georgia area, we need to talk. We see countless youth athletes from sports like soccer, lacrosse, swimming, baseball, football, golf and even ultimate frisbee! Each one of these athletes comes to us because of an injury. Almost all of these athletes lacked basic movement coordination that lead to the injury.
It’s hard to get your kids to listen to you. You can tell them all day to do exercises to decrease their likelihood of injury. It’s very unlikely they will take action and implement what you tell them.
Send them to Athletes’ Potential and we delve into how to improve their performance on the field. We use a unique a proprietary athlete assessment to isolate where the strength and movement limitations are. We get them strong, moving well and winning more. One really nice side effect to all of this is….they become significantly less likely to have an injury.
Now it’s your turn to make a decision. Do you wait for your youth athlete to get hurt or do you proactively get them checked out? The decision is yours and time starts now.
Give us a call at 470-355-2106 or request to chat with one of our Doctors for free by clicking on the link below.
Thanks for reading,
Dr. Danny and Dr. Jackie's views on performance improvement, injury prevention and sometimes other random thoughts.