Interesting video from the Organic Consumers Assoc.
Archive for the Guest Authors Category
I’ve been saying this for years, going so far as to talk about sports general training vs sports specific training in my first book Functional Training for Sports.
Pretty good take from Andrew Davis
By USA Hockey
Editor’s Note: The following was adapted from a list created by David Lynch, trainer for 8- and 9-year-old soccer players at Stockholm soccer club AIK.
Here are 24 tips for parents raising young hockey players:
1- The kids pack and prepare their own hockey bag.
2- Always be on time for practice.
3- Make them put their dirty training undergarments in the wash.
4- Tell them to give 100 percent at practice and games.
5- The kids carry their own hockey bag in and out of the ice rink. That’s carry, not wheel.
6- Teach them how to tighten their own skates.
7- Play hockey with them, where they want and when they want to.
8- Make them wear their equipment until it’s been outgrown, then buy new equipment.
9- Buy them new skates when they need them, not when they want them.
10-Buy second-hand skates and save yourself a fortune.
11-Teach them not to hate other teams.
12-Win or lose, remind them to love the game, and the game will love them back.
13-They will respect teammates, the opposition, the refs, the other team’s coaches. If you don’t teach them this, the coach will have to do it.
14-Let them dream they can be a Patrick Kane, but don’t give them any expectations.
15-Blaming teammates, blaming the ref, blaming anything is out. This goes for the players and parents. Set a good example.
16-Let them play hockey at home with a tennis ball.
17-Take them to hockey games and let them watch the pros.
18-Tell them hockey is for fun. Practice is for fun. If it isn’t fun for them, talk to the coach/club or move to another club.
19-Encourage them to watch hockey training videos on YouTube and let them try and perfect some of the moves.
20-Encourage them, support them, but never ever shout out instructions from the bleachers.
21-Don’t car-coach after practices or games. It sucks the fun out of the game. They know if they played well or poorly.
22-Encourage them to play other sports.
23-Don’t try to “train” your kid. Take them out, ask what they want to do and let them do it.
24-Tell your kids that you love watching them play.
THIS IS A MUST READ FROM MY FRIEND MICHELLE AMIDON AT USA HOCKEY!
Q: Will my kid fall behind without playing spring and summer hockey?
A: Likely not, and more importantly, your child will enjoy greater success in the long run if they avoid playing year-round hockey now.
Even NHL players and Olympians take extended time away from the ice in the summer. It’s an essential component of their recovery, development and maintenance of high-level play. For children, that time away from hockey is even more important. Year-round hockey programming harms young skaters emotionally, physically and athletically, yet, many parents and coaches claim that early specialization is necessary to become an elite hockey player. It’s simply not true. USA Hockey, the United States Olympic Committee, countless high-level coaches and numerous physiologists will tell you that early specialization actually limits and damages prospective hockey players, reducing their chances of becoming the cream of the crop.
So what exactly is early specialization? It’s when a player, prior to puberty, focuses all of his or her time on one sport in hopes of increasing or accelerating skill development. It may sound like a logical route to more skill development, but research and anecdotal evidence indicates the contrary.
Young kids have short attention spans that limit the amount of time they can focus and perform repetitions correctly. Participating in multiple sports allows these young athletes to learn a variety of motor skills, hone them efficiently and increase their physical literacy. It teaches them diverse movement patterns, varied skill sets and cognitive understanding of game sense. Taking a long-term holistic view, it also puts them on a path toward a lifetime of real-world physical fitness, because they’ve developed the ability, confidence and habits to be competent in multiple physical activities. For the 99 percent of youth athletes that don’t become professional athletes, this varied fitness foundation helps them enjoy the camaraderie and health benefits of an active lifestyle in adulthood.
Another benefit of playing multiple sports is a reduction in overuse injury risk. Sports medicine doctors are seeing a substantial increase in overuse injuries among children and early specialization is a major contributor. These players are getting injured before they even have a chance to develop physically. Calls for change are coming from the hockey world all over the sporting community, including from Major League Baseball and USA Baseball, which recently launched a Pitch Smart initiative aimed at reducing these kinds of injuries brought on by early specialization and overuse.
Early specialization is also increasing the psychological burnout rate among children, eliminating many from the game before they even hit their athletic prime. Among those who hang on despite the burnout, there’s an indifference to their game that caps potential.
Adults get caught up in allowing or pushing their little ones to play one sport for a number of reasons. They might be scared that their child will fall behind. They might push them simply because the kids are good at it and see immediate skill improvements and love the results. However, athletic development is a long process, and sport-specific skill development is only one piece. In order to be a great player, one must be an athlete first. And it’s important to remember that, especially in hockey, the “great” 10U player won’t automatically be the “great” player in years to come, when it actually matters and the stakes are higher. Skills and sense transfer from sport to sport. Overall athleticism matters. Hunger matters. Energy matters. Recovery matters. Early specialization impairs all of this, limiting athletes’ potential for long-term success. The goal should not be to produce the best 10-year-old, but to cultivate healthy children instead, and give them an opportunity to thrive in high school athletics, college athletics and beyond. It’s hard to trust it as a parent, when those around you seem to be submitting to early specialization, but take heart in the following:
The U.S. Olympic Committee recently published a report based on a survey distributed to nearly 2,000 Olympic athletes. The results indicated that the vast majority of Olympians did not specialize in their sport until very late in their development, and even then, some continued to participate in other sports.
Average number of sports played among Olympians (by age)
Age Average Number of Sports Played
These findings indicate that Olympians were involved in an average of three sports per year until age 14, which contradicts the notion that early specialization is critical to long-term athletic success. Multi-sport play appeared to be beneficial to these Olympians.
Similar findings come from the NHL. When asked, “How old were you when you started to specialize (only play and train) in hockey?” here is what some of our American NHL players reported:
Player NHL Team Age of Specialization
Craig Anderson Ottawa Senators High School
David Backes St. Louis Blues 18
Beau Bennett Pittsburgh Penguins 15
Dustin Brown Los Angeles Kings 16
John Gibson Anaheim Ducks 15
Jimmy Howard Detroit Red Wings 15
Trevor Lewis Los Angeles Kings 15
Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings 17
Brandon Saad Chicago Blackhawks 15
The football world also weighed in with evidence contradicting the perceived benefits of early specialization. ESPN surveyed 128 NFL quarterbacks – 73 active, 55 retired – and 95 percent of them played multiple sports in high school. Nearly 70 percent of them played three sports or more. There were only five active NFL quarterbacks who reported that they were single-sport specialists, and each of them was a backup quarterback.
Bottom line, mounting evidence shows no benefit to young athletes specializing in a single sport. Even more alarming, they have a greater risk of repetitive-use injury, they experience more burnout and they miss out on the advantages that playing multiple sports can give them.
So, encourage your kids to try different sports and to have fun while they are doing it.
From Dr. Joseph Mercola – “When fat was removed from processed foods, sugar was added in. This has led to a massive increase in obesity, diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, even among children”
Nice, simple, non-scientific article that does reference a study that shows that processed foods can be addicting. The number one food? Pizza.
I was just interviewed for NFL.com in a great article on the history of combine training. Take a second and read it if you get the chance.