The Other 165

As performance coaches we are tasked with the responsibility to improve athletic performance.
Within each 168 hour week we get, if we're lucky, 3 of those hours in which to make meaningful changes.
This leaves at least 165 other hours each week where a young athlete can do things to either build up or break down the work they do in training.
Ideally everyone would be doing things to enhance their athletic profile.
As youth sports appear to soon be coming out of the restricted environment of the last 12 months, this is a critical time for parents to be mindful of the workload your kids are about to be placed under in order to chart a best path for their future.
Rest & Recovery
In the last couple weeks we've heard a lot of "My kid is going to have (insert sport here) 6-7 days a week now".
This is exactly the concern I've had for this entire stretch of restricted play, when things move back to normal will youth coaches try to make up for lost time by doing far too much sport work?
It looks like the answer is going to be yes for a lot of teams.
The obvious result of this is we're going to see a massive wave of sports-related injuries in our kids this spring and summer.
Not coincidentally, this is something that appears to be occurring quite infrequently during these last 12 months.
Please remember that growing individuals are most susceptible to overuse injuries. Developing frames struggle to handle the excessive repetitive stresses that playing a sport puts on them when you do it 6 or 7 days per week.
Yes there is likely a built up excitement to get back out there and play games. Just make sure things are kept within reasonable boundaries.
There needs to be time to rest from the repetitive demands of sport for optimal long-term development.
Sleep and injury prevention routines should be just as important now as they were when schedules were less hectic.
We all know cramming for tests in school does little to help our long-term knowledge base. It is the same with sports, incremental progress over time is how we build champions.
Nutrition & Hydration
Do you eat a breakfast that has protein?
Do you eat vegetables?
Do you drink plain water, or do you have all sorts of sugary additives in your beverages?
These are just 3 of the most common nutrition habits that create massive separations from one athlete to another in between training sessions.
You eat many more meals each week than you have training sessions!
If your nutrition is suboptimal, find one small area to improve this week and make it consistent. When you feel ready, make another positive switch.
Build better habits, and watch how much quicker you make gains in training.
A comment by a coach, peer or family member can completely change a kid's mindset from one week to the next.
Negative comments, loss of playing time, problems in school, a critical mistake in a game, these are the types of things that stunt long-term development simply because a young athlete will gradually come to see themselves as failures who are not being capable of success.
If that is your mindset, why even try?
This is why it is so critical to have a mentor that you regularly interact with during the week. Perhaps it's a family member, or a coach, or teacher, even a peer. To help overcome the challenges and setbacks we all face along the way kids very much need someone to keep their enthusiasm burning.
I'd love to be able to say that training an athlete a couple times each week is all you need to be successful, but that would be a lie.
Training accounts for, at best, only 2% of your overall time each week. What you do the rest of the time either multiplies or inhibits your results.

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