Long Term Athlete Development: Don’t Morgage your Athletic Future

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Our recent global economic economic crises has some important lessons for long term athletic development. I think most of the world sees the U.S. as the source of this meltdown. And rightly so. While some might argue that it’s the mortgage crises, others banking deregulation, and still others the total culture of consumer over spending; the common thread is that what put us in to this situation in the first place is that too many people wanted too much too soon. The same can be said for many American coaches, parents and athletes at the developmental level. Many times, these parties get caught in the allure of immediate gratification rather than pursuing a long term goal of achieving true greatness. And unfortunately, these 2 desires are mutually exclusive, especially early on in an athlete’s development. Should a youth coach’s goal be to train an athlete to win the AAU age group national championships at the age of 8? Should they be in daily 2-3 hour training routines to do so? If that’s what they’re doing they should know that they’re probably sacrificing any long term chances of that athlete reaching that level when they are mature adolescents or adults. Anyone remember Obea Moore? The kid was a track God at the age of 16. He was ranked in the top 10 of all high school athletes in the 200m, 400m, AND 800m. He also ran on his high school’s insane 4x100m team. He ran 45.14 seconds for 400m as a sophomore in high school. A SOPHOMORE. To put that in to perspective, Track Uber-man, Usain Bolt, just caused a stir by running 45.54 as the pro who only months before had turned the track world on its head. Unfortunately for Obea, that was the height of his track career. Need more proof? check out the USATF Jr Olympics records. The younger the age group, the less likely you are to have ever heard of that athlete at the collegiate level or even more so at the pro level. Now this isn’t to say that natural development didn’t play a big role in these lists. Some athletes surely mature earlier than others and are capable of producing higher levels of performance earlier in their life (see Lebron James). BUT, the lack of any big names at the lower levels of these types of lists provides enough proof for me to be very cautious about how I would train athletes all the way up through college.
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Mike Young

Mike Young

Founder of ELITETRACK at Athletic Lab
Mike has a BS in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University, an MSS in Coaching Science from Ohio University & a PhD in Biomechanics from LSU. Additionally, he has been recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Level 3 coach by USA Track & Field, a Level 2 coach by USA Weightlifting.
Mike Young

@mikeyoung

📈Owner @AthleticLab 🏆Perf Dir @theNCCourage ⚽️Fit Coach @NorthCarolinaFC ➡️Proformance 📚Keynote Speaker & Author 📊Sport Science & Research🏃🏾‍♂️T&F 💪🏼S&C 🏋🏽‍♂️WL
Mike Young
Mike Young
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