Youth Physical Development - some up to date thinking .

THE YOUTH PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL (YDM) PROVIDES A RETHINK ON YOUTH PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT. The evolved model promotes coaching Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) throughout a lifetime of sport and challenges opinion that strength training should be held back until children reach adolescence.

FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS (FMS) are the building blocks for sport specific movements and should be mastered before sports specific training.

  • FMS should typically be the focus of physical development programs for children from early childhood to middle childhood (8-9 yrs old) to develop the gross motor skills for more complex movements.
  • Once gross motor skills have been mastered, sport specific skills (SSS) will be the focus of skill development training with a continued maintenance of the FMS.

STRENGTH development is multifaceted and results from a combination of muscular, neural and mechanical factors. The YPD model purports that the development of muscular strength should be a priority at all stages of development and that prepubertal children can and should develop muscular strength!

Like any sort of training programme strength development should be age, stage and sport appropriate.

Strength Training in Youth's should be a priority as it 'appears to transcend every component of fitness'

  • Muscular Strength will Increase speed and power, change of direction and endurance
  • Muscular Strength will reduce the risk of overuse injury's, meaning that down the line an athlete will be able to train more and more frequently because they will a) be more robust and cope with greater training loads and b) lose less training time to overuse injuries.
A world class climber and sprinter must be both physically strong to be successful, while strength is important to cycling, its is also relative term.!

Strength is the quality or state of being physically strong. In cycling the level of physical strength varies on the discipline and the event.

Key take home point for club coaches - all youth coaching programmes should integrate and include FMS maintenance and appropriate strength development. Also, Speed and Power development should be focused on more than Endurance and Metabolic Conditioning (i.e Anaerobic Interval Training) till mid- adolescence.
Being able to run and sprint fast as a youth bike rider will help general speed and power development.

Speed is the rate at which a rider can turn the pedals, cover a distance in a period of time or how quickly they can move. Speed helps riders ride faster, attack and sprint.

Power is the ability to use strength at speed. This helps athletes to ride at every fast speeds and sprint quickly. Power = Strength x Speed

Squat jumps develop power
Coaches should take into account maturation rates and the 'training age' of the athlete.
  • Youth Development and training should be individualised and have the flexibility to cater to the needs and development of the individual.
  • When and if an athletes is ready they can under take more advanced training or increased training load.
  • Its important to continually challenge athletes but equally not progress them beyond their capability or progress them too fast.

Focusing on weaknesses will result in greater longer term success than advancing strengths alone.

The YDM aims to ' enable children to experience continued mastery of new tasks though out their developmental years'. This progression helps improve athlete confidence, motivation and desire which will undoubtedly contribute to longer term success.

Using the research of YDM we can create a cycling specific youth development model (above) which should be of benefit to coaches, clubs, riders and parents to help guide what athletes should be doing when.
Now implement that new knowledge into your coaching!

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