At HPSports we are striving to build physical sustainability for developing athletes by understanding the relationship between physical competence and sport specific skill development. To build for the future each athlete must have exposure to, and comprehension of, essential motor patterns and movement qualities. This physical education will be necessary to develop the robustness required for sustaining the physical and skill specific journey through sport. We strive to achieve this level of comprehension through consistent exposure to well instructed and properly executed fundamental movement skills.
Coach the Athlete to Physical Competence
Every movement contained in a sport specific action; whether in running, jumping, throwing, kicking, catching or tumbling activities, demands that the athlete express some form of force production, force reduction, and force stabilization. Typically these events occur along the entire kinetic chain and demand degrees of multi-joint, multi-plane and multi-directional movement efficiency. The goal is to educate and train the athlete to physical competence, and then use this education to the greatest degree in his or her athletic development.
The Journey through Physical / Technical / Tactical Development
Understanding the relationship between physical education and skill development is essential if the coach/program is to establish a progressive pathway for the athlete. The keystone of our Athletic Development Program is to keep the athlete’s physical competence developing ahead of the sport specific skills being executed at each training stage. With this approach the athlete will have had a prior physical experience available to them, which may aid skill development as the tasks become more difficult or as they are executed more intensely. Having quality technical experiences that are consistently repeatable and able to withstand the effects of speed and fatigue should be the goal of the program to effectively train athletes. And this is why the athlete’s physical preparation (outside of the specific sport) must be taken seriously.
Whose Responsibility Is It?
Early sports specialization and the lack of consistent quality physical education in schools is creating an environment where athletes are moved through a sports continuum with glaring limitations in overall physical qualities or physical competencies. Many young athletes lack the ability to catch an object or kick an object relative to how they are being trained in a sport specific environment. These limitations are often developed during critical skill hungry years and thus have the ability to influence how the athlete progresses, or doesn’t progress. The repercussions from poor development (physical competencies) can influence the potential for injury and poor performance. Unfortunately, most coaches are focused only on technical and tactical development, thus the lack of physical sustainability surfaces and has the potential to negatively affect the athlete’s future. These same coaches assume that public or private schools are responsible to physically educate the athlete, yet this may not be happening to the degree necessary. By providing organized sport outside of the school physical education setting, one may assume that the necessary movement competencies are being addressed, but this in not often true! Therefore, every coach MUST take the time to implement (5 minutes or 25 minutes) training to improve one’s physical competence every training session, AND guide the athlete to training options annually that will benefit them.
The Cumulative Process
Developing fundamental movement skills takes time. If consistently addressed, the opportunity to improve an athlete’s movement vocabulary can occur over weeks, months and years, even with a minimal time investment during each training session. The process is cumulative, and we must take the time to prepare each athlete for the demands of sport training in the future- not just this season. By being proactive in the journey with the athlete, you may influence the change necessary to create a champion, and, equally important, you may keep them safe. There are no short cuts, and young athletes are not just smaller professional athletes! So don’t train them that way!