Archive for Training kids

Size Matters

Posted in Guest Authors, Hockey, Injuries, MBSC News, Media, Strength Coach Podcast, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , on August 25, 2014 by mboyle1959

This is awesome. Watch the first video at least. Thanks to my friend Michelle Amidon.

Size Matters

Another Parental Must Read- A New Type of Cross Training for Kids

Posted in Guest Authors, Hockey, Injuries, Low Back Pain, Media, Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , on August 13, 2014 by mboyle1959

Read this piece from USA Hockey with a new take on Cross Training

All Played Out

Posted in Guest Authors, Injuries, MBSC News, Media, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , , on August 7, 2014 by mboyle1959

This was sent by a former athlete of mine. Another really good perspective. Please note, this is not my writing.

All Played Out


PORTLAND, Ore. — PARENTS and doctors may have disparate views on the goals of kids’ sports. I know how disparate because I happen to be both. As a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and the dad of a kid who loves sports, I see this world from both sides.

Recently, I told a teenage boy, whom I’ll call Lucas, and his parents that he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (A.C.L.) in his knee. The matching soccer jerseys worn by the entire family were a hint as to how the conversation would go.

“You don’t understand, this is his life!” Mom said.

“We need this fixed — he’s in the Olympic Development Program! He’s elite,” said Dad.

Lucas is 13. The next 40 minutes of what had been a 20-minute appointment were spent trying to reset expectations. Lucas would need a minimum of six months to heal the reconstructed graft. On top of that, his bones were still growing, so the surgical technique would have to be altered to a trickier and less tested procedure. And the harsh reality: Any knee that has had a major injury will never be 100 percent “normal.” His parents were furious and left for the inevitable second opinion.

These visits are exhausting and more common every year. The question is why.

One reason is that our very young kids play harder, and for more hours, than ever before. As a collective, we, the parents, have bought into a new and lucrative paradigm. Our kids no longer play sports; they are youth “athletes.”

The landscape of youth sports has changed markedly in the last 20 years. Free play, where children gather after school, pick a game and play until called in for dinner, is almost extinct. Highly organized and stratified sports have become the norm. Time, place and rules are now dictated to our kids rather than organized by the kids.

Granted, the stigma of being picked last by neighborhood captains still weighs heavily on some of us, so maybe a neutral “adult coach” is just what’s needed. But these paid coaches need to earn their keep and feel pressure to go for the win, so many kids are excluded from even lining up, or they’re relegated to the “Wreck League” (a derogatory reference to the kids who just want to play for noncompetitive recreation).

Eight- and 9-year-old children are often pressured to choose a single sport and to play it all year or risk showing a “lack of commitment.” Kids are “invited” to play in extra-seasonal leagues, but the invitation comes with a caveat. The implicit message is, show up or don’t expect much playing time during the regular season. Kids sense the pressure and sometimes it seeps out in unexpected ways.

More juvenile athletes are coming in with repetitive stress injuries (both physical and, in a sense, emotional) that were once rare. Now children show up in my office repeatedly with vague aches and pains, usually in different locations and hard to diagnose but often relieved with a few weeks of rest. By the third visit, I catch on and ask whether they truly enjoy their full-time commitment. If given the emotional space, the kids will often reply no. They just want a break.

As parents, we want what’s best for our kids but we’ve abdicated our parental rights and duties to the new societal norm. Youth sports have become big business. Millions of dollars flow to coaches, leagues, equipment, road trips, motels, tournament fees — and the list goes on. We give in to the herd mentality along with our confounded friends so that our kids won’t be seen as outliers.

We buy the hype about scholarships to college, but the numbers don’t support the athletic route to money. Despite what your “professional coach” tells you about your child’s athletic prowess, it isn’t possible to tell if your 12-year-old has the right stuff to be a college athlete. Very few scholarships are full-ride packages; most don’t come close to covering the cost of college. But when I tell parents that their kid’s chance of scholarship money is less than 2 percent, they shake their heads in sympathy for the other 98 percent.

I treated two teenage sisters who had career-ending knee injuries in the same year. Fifteen thousand dollars of their father’s annual income had been going to three different elite traveling softball teams. His goal was a college scholarship. Now their knees and chances at athletic scholarships were ruined. But $15,000 a year would have been a great D.I.Y. college fund.

Lucas will be fine. He’ll learn how to navigate adversity and that, in and of itself, is a valuable life lesson. In the future, he’ll make decisions for his own kids. Maybe by then we will all have relaxed a bit.


NHL Players Began Specializing Later Than You Think

Posted in Updates, Training, Training Females, Youth Training with tags , on April 27, 2014 by mboyle1959

If you are a hockey parent with a 10 year old who played 80 games last year, take a look at this?

Age of Specialization Chart

Late Bloomers

Posted in Hockey, MBSC News, Media, Strength Coach Podcast, Updates, Training, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , , on February 4, 2014 by mboyle1959

Is your young athlete a late bloomer? Great article from USA Hockey

Kids Just Need Play

Posted in MBSC News, Random Thoughts, Strength Coach Podcast, Updates, Training, Youth Training with tags on April 30, 2013 by mboyle1959

Kids just need to play. I know this sounds simple but as adults, we want to organize play. We want structure, and coaching. All the things we crave as adults. Kids don’t need or want much of this. To paraphrase Cindi Lauper, kids just want to have fun.

This is why I love the TPI Cyclone Circuit idea. I call it the ADD Olympics. My son loves it. We often go to the gym in the winter  and pass a tennis ball with a cut down hockey stick, then we play off-the-wall, then we kick a soccer ball, then we make an obstacle course with jumps, sled pushes etc. He thinks it’s fun.

I never coach. I simply let him “play” and as he plays, he develops multiple motor skills. As coaches we see that a kid needs mobility, strength etc and we start coaching and teaching. However, this is like watching a kid do his times tables and saying “he needs more Algebra”, “he can’t do Algebra” . Any intelligent teacher would say “he/she is not ready for that yet”. I think we sometimes miss that part in the fitness and strength and conditioning worlds.

Kids just need to move and develop a wide range of basic skills. They don’t need “coaching”. They need a wide range of experiences that touch a wide range of areas. Experience is king, competency comes much later. You can’t refine a skill you don’t have and attempting to do so just turns kids off to activity.

How much is too much? Your kids will let you know. When my son say “lets kick the soccer ball now” we do.

A Good reason to Turn Off the TV

Posted in Media, Nutrition, Random Thoughts, Training, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , on January 20, 2013 by mboyle1959

Even though this might be really obvious, read it anyway. Kids that watch lots of TV end up fat and slow.

Pretty Good Discussion About Youth Sports

Posted in Guest Authors, Training, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , on April 5, 2012 by mboyle1959

Readers might enjoy this discussion about youth sports and equal playing time. This was again forwarded to me by my friend Michelle Amidon at USA Hockey. Lots of good points on both sides.

More Great Reasons Not to Specialize

Posted in Guest Authors, Media, Training, Training Females, Uncategorized, Youth Training with tags , , , on March 30, 2012 by mboyle1959

I really like this post from Brook De Lench of . My friend Michelle Amidon from USA Hockey ( an ADM rep) always sends me great stuff like this. Take a minute and read it.

Mitch Albom on Summer

Posted in Guest Authors, Media, Random Thoughts, Youth Training with tags , on August 16, 2011 by mboyle1959

This was in Parade Magazine and was sent to me by my friend Michelle Amidon from USA Hockey:

Go ahead, kids. Lie in the grass. Study the clouds. Daydream. Be lazy. You have our permission.

I feel sorry for todays kids. Summer comes, theyre finally free from schooland bang! Band camp. Science seminars. Internships.

Instead of downtime, its get-up-and-go time. Chorus travel, archaeological digs, dance tours. My nephew from Michigan flew to Georgetown University for a summer medical program, replete with cadavers. He was 16.

He’s hardly alone. Some kids fill their summers with so many prep courses that theyre ready to graduate from college by the time they get there. Its all very admirable, but heres a question: Why so busy?

I can make the case for doing nothing all summer. Thats right. Nothing. I know it wont advance your kids career objectives or improve their SAT scores.

But it might be good for them.

When I think of my childhood summers, I remember lying in the grass, hands behind my head, feeling the blades dig into my fingers. I studied the clouds. I joked with my friends. None of us wore watches.

Weekdays were indistinguishable from weekends. Id wake up when my eyes opened, read comic books over bowls of -cereal, go outside with my baseball glove (just in case a game broke out), and find something to do on my bike, make things in the garage. Was it lazy? By todays standards, maybe. But there was a freedom that todays kids dont enjoy. We sat on curbs. We daydreamed. Think about the word. Daydream. It means your imagination wanders while your eyes are open.

What kid has time for that today? Preteens are on travel soccer teams. They fly to faraway cities. Play tournaments. Isnt that what pro players do?

Likewise, camps chew up the summer months, but theyre no longer just softball and swimming. There are fashion camps. Circus camps. Science camps. Achievement is emphasized.

Even kids at home find their free time under scrutiny. Some children are made to adhere to playdates as if keeping a doctors appointment. (By the way, the closest I ever came to a playdate was when my mother opened the door on summer mornings and said, Go. Dont come back until supper.)

We need to lighten it up. Sometimes doing nothing is doing something. Sure, camp can be fun, and travel ball is exciting, but if we cram in activities from the last day of school to the first, were ignoring an important fact: The way kids work during the academic yearhonestly, youd think homework was a full-time joba mental break may be needed. These are young minds, young bodies. Replenishing the juices by kicking back is not a bad idea. And if not in childhood, then when?

Now, I know what youre thinking: If we dont enroll our kids in an activity, all theyll do is text. Or watch TV (and text) or talk on the phone (and text).

Well, you could prevent that. You could take away the cell phone, the iPod, the Nintendo. Then see if you can get your kid to do four things in a day:

1. Have a face-to-face conversation with a friend.

2. Read something.

3. Build something.

4. Get wet. A pool. A hose. A sprinkler. Whatever.

Thats really enough. Before you can blink, its the school year again, where every day is jammed with sports, AP classes, student government, and field trips.

Thats fine for September. But if September is no different from June, July, and August, then were doing something wrong. And our kids are missing something precious.

Mitch Albom
Best-selling author Mitch Albom is a Detroit Free Press colu