Athleticism is much more than just being an athlete. According to Rick Howard, CSCS,*D, “Athleticism refers more to the ability to execute fundamental movements, in either a specific or unpredictable movement pattern at optimum speed with precision, with applicability across sports and physical activities.”
So, how can the development of athleticism be incorporated into youth development? Howard offers the following suggestions:
Focus on Movement Patterns
The development of movement patterns in youth athletes should be fundamental in nature, and not necessarily sport-specific. Additionally, the development of physical capacities — balance, coordination, flexibility, agility, control, precision, strength, power, and endurance — should be incorporated into activities from a young age until the athlete reaches physical maturity, at which time the context can shift toward sport-specific physical attributes and long-term athletic development.
All youth should be encouraged to reach the recommended daily amount of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce them to a wide variety of movements in multiple settings, in a combination of structured and unstructured settings. Encourage participation.
Recognition is encouraging. Explain and demonstrate appropriately, correct when necessary, and praise generously.
Coaching is the Key
Coaching awareness and education is a critical component of the process. Coaches need to understand how specific training methodologies fit into the development of physical attributes and fundamental skills.
Create the Proper Environment
It is important to create the proper environment for youth to develop athleticism while continuing to have fun, for both physical and psychosocial well-being. Positive youth development has been shown to lead to positive adult development.
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!