To become talented performers in their high school years-and beyond-it is more important that, during their early years, junior athletes are executing the skill at full-speed than focusing on how the skills are performed.
Biological age, not chronological age, needs to be utilized to determine which specific athletic biomotor abilities -i.e.,speed, strength, power, stamina, skill, mobility (flexibility), and 3D intergration (spatial awareness, proprioception, and kinesthetic awareness)-are trained and when it is most appropriate to do so. Regardless of what age junior athletes begin training for sport, they need to start with basic movement abilities, especially speed and mobility work. Speed and flexibility need to be trained together and are best trained when the athlete is 6-9 and13-16 (boys) or 4-7 and 11-13 (girls), time frames during which junior athletes are growing fast (peak height velocity or PHV). During the initial period basic unloaded strength training, preferable functional training, can start so that athletes have a solid foundation to undertake loaded strength training when they are biologically ready-12-18 months after PHV (boys) or immediately after PHV or onset of menarche (girls). When junior athletes are 10 (girls) or 12 (boys) 3D intergrations-spatial awareness proprioception, and kinesthetic awareness-needs to be included in their training program. Activities such as tumbling, juggling, ropes courses, etc, will help develop these abilities.
One on one sport skill instruction should not begin until the junior athlete reaches the age of 7 (girls) or 8.5 (boys). Additionally, during this period they should learn to perform the Olympic-style lifts-weightlifting (i.e., snatches, cleans, and there variations)-unloaded, focusing purely on technique. Weightlifting will help develop total body power in their sport skills once they begin performing these lifts loaded, age 16 (girls) or 18 (boys). However, a lot of time needs to be spent learning and practicing the various weightlifting techniques to maximize power output once lifts begin to be loaded.
Biomotor Ability Windows & Corresponding Biological Age:
|Girls: 1) 4-7 2) 11-13||Girls: 1) 4-7 2) 9-12||Girls: 1) 7-10 2) 12-16|
|Boys: 1) 6-9 2) 13-16||Boys: 1) 6-9 2) 11-14||Boys: 1) 9-12 2) 14-18|
|Girls: 10-14||Girls: Immediately after PHV or at onset of menarche||Girls: 1) 11-14 2) 16-20|
|Boys: 12-16||Boys: 12-18 months after PHV||Boys: 1) 13-16 2) 18-22|
|Girls: 16-20||*When growing fast do flexibility along with speed|