Here at Exceed Sports Performance & Fitness, we believe that a large percent of youth athletes are missing an extremely important piece of the development progression. Many youth athletes are choosing or, even worse, being forced to specialize too early and spend all year focused on one sport. This may seem like the only way to achieve their goals but it is unknowingly putting them at a severe disadvantage. There are certain “windows” in a young athletes life that they are particularly adept at acquiring and sharpening certain skills. These skills create a foundation for the athlete to build the necessary strength, speed, power and endurance required to compete at the highest levels.
We like to think of the foundation as a tool box. The more skills you develop the more versatile and functional the tool box becomes. If they need to hammer a nail and they only have a screwdriver…they may be able to get the job done, but in a much less efficient and effective manner. Corny metaphors aside, the athletes that are specializing early are basically limiting their foundation to a small number of skills. This clearly has a performance inhibiting effect but it more importantly puts these athletes at an increased risk for serious injury. The single-sport participation puts repetitive stresses onto their body and limits the broad-spectrum skill acquisition that is so vital to elite status.
As mentioned a few times in our literature, there are certain methods we use to quantify abilities and group athletes accordingly. Below are program descriptions for each age group but the Levels are explained in depth on our Methodology page.
Middle School Fundamentals – (ages 11 – 13)
We can’t forget the true purpose of Middle School Fundamentals. To prepare these youths for the future, not only as athletes, but also as healthy adults. Research has shown that early fitness related experiences hold the greatest correlation to adult fitness levels. One of our primary goals is to give these athletes a fun and exciting environment where they can improve their performance and create a passion for fitness and wellness.
During these years the athletes are primed to learn and develop a large amount of skill and ability. They are capable of making significant gains in a multitude of bio-motor abilities such as speed, endurance, strength and coordination. This will surely lead to short-term successes in their sport or activity but also set them up for long term performance improvements, as well, that can span throughout their athletic careers. We structure our training around this concept and our athletes should expect to work on and improve in the follow abilities:
- Total Body Strength and Power – The Holy Grail of Athleticism. Getting strong and powerful is vital to any athlete looking to improve speed and on-field performance.
- Acceleration – Better starting speed and the initial “burst”.
- Deceleration – Perfect landing, stopping, cutting, absorbing and reducing speed and forces.
- Dynamic Stability – Balance and the ability to maintain position in the presence of outside forces.
- Energy System Development – Aerobic and Anaerobic endurance.
- Core Strength and Stability – The ability to control the torso to produce and reduce forces in movements like throwing, kicking, tackling, running and jumping.
- Resilience – The ability to withstand injuries and trauma associated with sports.
- Confidence – Knowing you put in the work and have the foundation of strength and power to display your skills is the true key to performing at high levels.
- Outlook on Fitness – Our atmosphere, riddled with fun, should give these athletes a better view of fitness and health.
High School Performance Training – (ages 14 – 19)
At these ages, hormonally and physiologically speaking, the athlete is primed to increase lean tissue (muscle), strength, power, speed and overall performance. The training process now aims at improving these abilities through a comprehensive program built around the individual needs of the athlete. Our assessment and screening process becomes more important and the movement dysfunction associated with each athlete dictates the specifics of their program.