To Your Health
May, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 05)
The Right Way: Ensuring adequate rest and recovery is the best way to avoid overtraining syndrome and its consequences. The longer the overtraining takes place, the more rest is required.
Therefore, early detection is very important. No matter how interested your child is in exercise and fitness, you have to help them temper that enthusiasm to avoid burnout and injury. As with all things, exercise-related and otherwise, moderation is the key.
If the overtraining has only occurred for a short period of time (e.g., 3- 4 weeks) then interrupting training for 3-5 days is usually sufficient rest. After this, workouts can be resumed on an every-other-day basis. The intensity of the training can be maintained, but the total volume should be lower. It is also important that the factors which led to overtraining be identified and corrected. Otherwise, the overtraining syndrome is likely to recur. An alternate form of exercise can be substituted to help prevent the exercise withdrawal syndrome. You do not need to eliminate all forms of exercise; simply reduce the intensity and allow for proper recovery.
Mistake #4: Unsupervised Group Training
The Wrong Way: The biggest rage in gyms and sports performance facilities is to have a group of kids working out together under the direction of one trainer. Although this can be motivational and inspiring for the kids, not to mention financially successful for the trainer, it may foster injury and poor performance. How? Many trainers will coach and train up to the level of the highest performance potential of the group leader (strongest athlete), while trying to inspire the "weakest" member. Not wanting to disappoint the trainer (or as a response to peer pressure), the weaker members of the group push themselves beyond what their body is ready for, leading to injury.
The Right Way: Proper assessments must be done by the training facility to ensure that groups have a combination of equal fitness ability. It's OK to be inspired to improve, but not at the expense of proper technique and training strategies. If your child exercises in a group setting, makes sure the trainer includes a "breakout routine" with one-on-one sessions to assess your child's progress and share the results with you.
Mistake #5: Lack of Agility and Coordination Training
The Wrong Way: Agility is important in sport and daily life to enhance body control, increase foot speed and prevent injury. Agility forces you to quickly move your body in all dynamic ranges of human movement. Without proper agility training, young athletes in particular can have problems with proper function and support in the knee and hip structures. The knee and hip are extremely vulnerable in activities requiring lateral (side to side) movements such as "cutting" and running. Agility training enhances the natural joint proprioceptors in ligaments, which give your body a sense of position. This is critical to ensure all the muscles of the body work together as a functioning unit, as opposed to working against each other.