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Sports and Young Athletes By Dr. Rajal Sukhiyaji (M.PT. in Sports Science)

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Sports and Young Athletes

Sports and Young Athletes By Dr. Rajal Sukhiyaji (M.PT. in Sports Science)

Contents Introduction of Sports and Young athletesEpidemiologyBenefits of sports activitiesDifferences between young athletes and adult athletesWhere and why young athletes participate in sports??Sport participation : Medical issueReason of dropout of sportsSport training for young athletesSport parent responsibilitiesRights of young athletesReferences

What is Sports ????Sport (or sports) is all forms of usually competitive physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing entertainment to participants, and in some cases, spectators.

Who are Young athletes ???Young athletes are a category of athletes who compete under the age of 18 years.

Problems of adolescence

Athletics for adolescents can provide a way to learn various significant life skills in a fun and enjoyable manner.

Sport for social development is a way in which sports can have a positive impact on young athletes..

The first reason that young athletes participate in a sports program is To have fun and also Winning the game And to share that success with family members and friends.

EpidemiologyIt is estimated that 27 million US young athletes between 6 to 18 years of age participate in team sports.

The National Council of Sports survey found that 60 million young athletes aged 6 to 18 years participate in some form of organized athletics, with 44 million participating in more than 1 sport.

(Clin J Sport Med Volume 24, Number 1, January 2014)

Benefits of Sports activitiesSports help Physical developmentSports help Cognitive and academic development Sports help Psychological developmentSports help Social development (games and teams are miniature social systems)Sports help Character development.

Benefits of Sport in Young athletesSelf- disciplineHealthy LifestyleNew Skills,ChallengesDecision MakingCommitmentConfidenceTeamworkTrustMotivationFun, Enjoyment, Making FriendsAchievementSelf-worth

Participation in athletics improves physical fitness, coordination, and self-discipline, and gives them valuable opportunities to learn teamwork.

Because young athletes are still growing, they are at a greater risk for injury than adults.

Many sports injuries can be prevented.

Some of the more effective ways to prevent these injuries include Age-specific coaching, Appropriate physical conditioning, and Proper use of equipment.

Coaches and parents can prevent injuries by fostering an atmosphere of healthy competition that emphasizes confidence, cooperation, and a positive self-image, rather than just winning.

Differences Between Young athletes and Adult Athletes

Young athletes are Still Growing

Young athletes vary in Size and Maturity

Young athletes Can Injure Growth Plates

Where young athletes participate in sports?Agency sponsored sportsEg,Little league baseballPop Warner football

Club sportsPay for services (gymnastics, tennis)

Recreational sport programsEveryone plays

Intramural sportsMiddle, junior, senior high school

Interscholastic sportsMiddle, junior, senior high school

Most Popular Interscholastic Sports

Why young athletes participate in sports ???To have fun To improve skillsTo be with friendsTo be part of a teamTo experience excitementTo receive awardsTo winTo become physically fit (Wankel & Kreisel, 1985)

Sport ParticipationMedical Issues

Acute injuriesCaused by a sudden trauma, such as a twist, fall, or collision. Common acute injuries include broken bones, sprains (ligament injuries), strains (muscle and tendon injuries), and cuts or bruises.Most acute injuries should be evaluated by a doctor. This usually consists of the RICE method.Proper first aid will minimize swelling and help the doctor establish an accurate diagnosis.

Overuse injuriesThere is very little research specically on the incidence and prevalence of overuse injuries in young athletes.Overall estimates of overuse injuries versus acute injuries range from 45.9% to 54%. The prevalence of overuse injury varies by the specic sport, ranging from 37% (skiing and handball) to 68% (running). (Clin J Sport Med Volume 24, Number 1, January 2014)

Overuse injuries occur gradually over time, when an athletic activity is repeated so often, parts of the body do not have enough time to heal between playing.

Examples of overuse injuries include throwing injuries in the elbow, Achilles tendinitis, and shin splints.

Common sites: epiphyseal plates, cartilage of the apophyses, articular cartilage, stress fractures

To keep athletes in the game long-term, overuse injuries need to be diagnosed and treated by a physician as soon as possible. Parents and coaches should be aware of the more common signs of overuse injury. These include:Pain. This pain cannot be tied to an acute injury, such as from a fall. The pain often increases with activitySwellingChanges in form or techniqueDecreased interest in practice

Strategies for Preventing Sports InjuriesBe in proper physical condition to play a sport Know and abide by the rules of a sportWear appropriate protective gear (for example, shin guards for soccer, a hard-shell helmet when facing a baseball pitcher, a helmet and body padding for ice hockey)Know how to correctly use athletic equipment (for example, correctly adjusting the bindings on snow skis)Always warm up before playingStay hydratedAvoid playing when very tired or in painAtmosphere of Healthy Competition

Female young AthletesFemale athlete who focuses on being thin or lightweight may eat too little or exercise too much. Doing this can cause long-term health damage.Three interrelated illnesses may develop when a girl or young woman goes to extremes in dieting or exercise. Together, these conditions are known as the "female athlete triad."The three conditions are:Disordered eatingMenstrual dysfunctionPremature osteoporosis (low bone density for age)

Steroid UseMany young athletes boys and girls use black-market anabolic steroids to improve their athletic performance. Steroids have been shown to increase muscle mass, but they can cause serious and potentially life-threatening complications and should be avoided.Most steroids are illegal and are banned by sports organizations.

Sports SupplementsMany athletes of all ages take sports supplements, such as creatine, because they think it will increase strength and improve sports performance.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate nutritional supplements. There is also not enough research on the long-term health effects of taking sports supplements, especially in adolescents and children who are still growing.Always takes advice from doctor before taking nutritional supplements.

Why young athelets dropout of sports ??? Most Important Reasons to Stop Playing a Sport(Athletic Footwear Association, 1990)

I lost interestI was not having funIt took too much timeCoach was a poor teacherThere was too much pressureI wanted a nonsport activityI was tired of itI needed more study timeCoach played favoritesThe sport was boringThere was an overemphasis on winning

Psychological issuesSome of the most important implications of sport psychology are found in the athletes, where participants are plentiful and highly involved.

Stress Unpleasant emotional state Burnout is a special case of sport withdrawal in which a young athlete discontinues sport involvement in response to chronic stress.

Model depicting the development of stress and potential behavioral outcomesSituationIndividual views outcome as important Emotional ResponseUnfavorable appraisalleads to physiologicaland cognitive stressAppraisal Individual evaluates his/herability to meet the demandsof the situationConsequences Withdraw and try a new sport; Withdrawpermanently

Precompetitive state anxiety also play a role.

For that reducing stress level byChange something about the sport.Skill training instills confidenceChildren who perceive themselves as competent are less threatened and perform betterWinning/losing should be placed in perspectiveHelp child set realistic goals

Keep Young Athletes Healthy and FitProper preparation

A balanced body

Proper warm up, stretching andstrength-training exercises are essential for athletes involved in sports.

Young athletes should begin with a slow jog as a general warm-up, followed by a sport-specific warm-up. They should then stretch all the major muscle groups.

Proper technique and supervision

Proper nutrition and hydration are also extremely vital.

While an ordinary person may need to drink eight to ten glasses of water each day, athletes need to drink even more than that for proper absorption.

Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. Eating a healthy meal two to four hours before a practice or a game and another within one to two hours after a game or practice allows for proper replenishment and refuels the body.

All athletes should seek rehabilitation following injury.

Encourage child to:

Wear the proper equipment.Eat healthy meals.Maintain a healthy weight. Drink water.Drink milk.Avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks.Follow a warm-up routine. Take vitamins daily.Avoid trendy supplements.Get plenty of rest.

Sports training for young athletesSports conditioning coaches are in a good position to help younger athletes perform at their peak.

From a coaching perspective, understanding athletic ability and potential gives greater vision in athlete selection and overall team development.

Developing Athletic Talent

It is a long-term process.Scientific research has concluded that it takes a minimum of 10 years and 10,000 hours of training for a talented athlete to reach elite levels (Ericsson & Charness 1994; Salmela et al. 1998)This translates into more than 3 hours of training daily for 10 years. This is referred to as the "10-year rule," and in the preparation of Olympic athletes it is supported by bothThe U.S. Olympic Committee (2002) and Canadian Sport Centres (2006).

Three Pillars For TrainingSport movement: agility, quickness, multidirectional speed, external reaction skills, coordination, acceleration and deceleration

2. Sport strength: muscular, whole-body, multijoint strength; muscular endurance; explosive power; and recovery efficiency

3. Sport balance: stability, kinesthetic awareness, proprioception, neuromuscular pathways, transitional balance and internal reactivity


The schedule and design of a year-round sports conditioning plan is called periodization, or conditioning in cycles, where different physical components are developed at different densities, intensities, frequencies, durations and loads.

Based on scientific principles and methodologies, periodization presents the best time and the best method for conditioning each physical component.

Program Design for the Young AthleteSports conditioning coach wants to:Improve fitnessIncrease athleticismBuild the physical tools that sports participation draws onProvide immediate upgrades to the experience of playing sportsGive athletes the physicality to excel at any new sports they may pick upProduce results so that improved sports competence keeps athletes in the game Provide an experience that will secure a positive link between working out and feeling good about sports.

Sport Parent ResponsibilitiesEncourage athletes to play sports, but dont pressure them. Let them choose to playand quitif she or he wants.Understand what he/she wants from sport and provide a supportive atmosphere for achieving those goals.Set limits on athletes participation in sport. Determine when they are physically and emotionally ready to play and to ensure that that conditions for playing are safe.

Make sure the coach is qualified to guide through the sport experience.

Keep winning in perspective, and help athlete do the same.

Help athlete set realistic performance goals.

Help athlete understand the valuable lessons sports can teach.

Help athlete meet his or her responsibilities to the team and the coach.

Discipline when necessary.

Supply the coach with informationregarding any allergies or special health conditions. Make sure athlete takes any necessary medications to games and practices.

Basic Guidelines for Coaches and ParentsWinning isnt everything or the only thing.

Failure is not the same as losing.

Success does not equal winning - success is found in striving for victory and excellence.

Success = giving 100% effort

Rights of Young AthletesRight of the opportunity to participate in sports regardless of ability level

Right to participate at a level that is commensurate with each childs developmental level

Right to have qualified adult leadership

Right to participate in safe and healthy environments

Right of each child to share in the leadership and decision making of his/her sport participation

Right to play as a child and not as an adult

Right to proper preparation for participation in the sport

Right to an equal opportunity to strive for success

Right to be treated with dignity by all involved

Right to have fun through sport

(Guidelines for Children's Sports, R. Martens and V. Seefeldt (Eds.)., Washington, D.C. American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 1979.)

Positive Role of Friends in SportCompanionshipEnhancement of self-esteemHelp and guidanceProsocial behaviorIntimacyEmotional supportConflict resolutionAttractive personal qualities

Negative Role of Friends in SportConflict (e.g., insults, arguments)Unattractive personal qualities (e.g., self-centered)BetrayalInaccessibility (lack of opportunity to interact)


A Guide to Safety for Young Athletes, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, May,2013.

Keep Young Athletes Healthy and Fit, American Chiropractic Association,2014

Kids and Sports: Creating a Healthy Experience for Every Child by Marianne Engle, Ph.D.

Identifying, Understanding and Training Youth Athletes by Peter Twist, MSc, Janice Hutton, MA

Principles of Manual Sports Medicine, Steven J. Karageanes, 2005 by Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Overuse Injuries and Burnout in Youth Sports: A Position Statement from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, January 2014,John P. DiFiori, MD,* Holly J. Benjamin,, Clin J Sport Med Volume 24, Number 1.

Thank You