We often hear that lifting weights when you are young can stunt your growth, which is of course true if you’re lifting heavy barbells while standing up. However, if you do basketball strength training properly, it will not stunt your growth. In fact, you can even do strength training as young as 8 years old, provided you follow a strict, appropriate, and supervised training program.
Personally, I think the most appropriate age to start basketball strength training is at the age of 13 or 14. This is because the maturity of muscles, coordination, and body awareness, not to mention mental maturity, will have already developed. However, as mentioned earlier, strength training can start as early as age 8 to 12 as long as the training program is appropriate and supervised.
There is actually a difference between ‘strength training’ and ‘lifting weights.’ Lifting weights helps to build up strength, which is a method useful for adults. Strength training for kids and teens on the other hand is the building up of strength without any weights involved. Instead, it uses functional movements to create a stronger and more coordinated player.
A proper youth training program must include agility training, footwork training, flexibility training, and strength training. The program needs to be exercised twice a week with 30 to 45 minutes of workout time per session. The training program will be focused on multi-joint movements such as jumping, squatting, lunging, hopping, skipping, pushing, pulling, twisting and throwing. The workouts must be challenging, yet fun and engaging enough to get you involved throughout the session. The main goal of the workout is to build a strong foundation towards efficient movement.
For young players, it is necessary for them to experience different types of motor skills regularly so as to become more athletic as well as develop injury prevention. Developing coordination through different types of movements, drills, and exercises is vital as it helps to promote specific coordination needed for the game. In short, when kids learn how to jump or move properly, not only do they have a lesser chance of getting injured, but their movements also become more efficient.
According to research, coordination is best developed during the ages of 10 to 12. Coordination involves key components such as balance, rhythm, reaction, and body awareness. Kids who master these components through training at an early age tend to be better athletes at later ages. But, this does not necessarily include the athletic potential of every individual. Nevertheless, regardless of athletic potential, the thing with training, particularly at a younger age, is that it can help anyone improve. This is basically why proper youth training program is necessary.
A youth training program should have the following criteria:
- Safe – players must use correct form and appropriate resistances to avoid injury.
- Fun – this will help players to enjoy the training and become more engaged.
- Fundamentals – players should learn the different motor skills before attempting to master the specific skills of the sport.
- Challenging – young players are able to easily adapt to drills and exercises so introducing new movements, skills, and drills will challenge them physically.
Strength Training Tips for Beginners
If you take a look at the professional basketball players these days, you will notice that they pack more muscles than the professional players of three decades ago. In fact, if you try to do a side-by-side comparison, you will notice how big of a difference there is.
Indeed, times have changed and they will only continue to do so in the years ahead. However, one thing remains the same – getting strong is an advantage in the game.
If you are dreaming big for your basketball career, then it is important that you also try to develop your body the same way you develop your basketball skills. A lot of basketball strength coaches even say that strength training can be done as young as 8 years of age, which will mostly include simple exercises that does not involve any lifting of weights. Once the player gets to their teenage years, you can slowly introduce weights in their program.
For the game of basketball, it’s either get strong or get left behind. The thing is where do you exactly begin? If you don’t have any experienced strength training coach to teach you, then what should you do? There are basically two things you do not want to happen during strength training – incur any injuries and put too much time on something that would not yield any results.
For most people, the hardest part about strength training is finding the time when to start it. A good strategy for beginners is to simply start working out at home. The benefit of this is that it saves money from having to register to a gym. Working out at home will likely tune you into starting your workout regimen. Once you get serious with your strength training, you may then take it to the next level by considering working out in a gym. Even if you consider the registration fee along with the fuel expense in going to the gym, there are simply a lot of workouts and exercises that you can do in the gym that cannot be done at home.
An important aspect of weight training for beginners is to diversify the workouts. To achieve the best results, it is necessary that you perform a good balance of cardio, workouts, and strength training exercises.
The truth is strength training can be a bit overwhelming at first, probably due to the abundance of routines and programs. However, if you try to look at it more carefully, strength training for beginners naturally involves the targeting of many muscle groups, and advanced strength training involves the targeting of specific muscle groups. Although targeting more specific muscle groups will help to improve performance, you are more susceptible to injuries if the other muscles in the area have not been developed. To reduce the risk of any injuries, it is necessary that you try to target more muscle groups at the beginning.