Why It’s Importance to Screen Young Athletes

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Athletic screening on young athletes involves gaining a holistic understanding of where  athletes are in their physical development journey. It aims to track how they are progressing physically through their childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

By screening athletes at a young age, we are able to guide their development in order to provide the best possible opportunity for future success in their sport.

At Precision Athletica, we aim to improve how an athlete performs by getting them stronger, faster and more powerful. However, without a sound movement foundation, athletes may not optimise their ability to perform at their highest potential.

The ultimate goal of screening young athletes is to  help improve their movement quality and increase the athlete’s ability to adapt to the required demands of their sport.

Screen Young Athletes

The advantages of screening young athletes include:

1. Identification of Motor Skill Competency

Movement efficiency is a term commonly used in high performance sports. It is the athlete’s ability to manipulate the body to perform a movement with the least amount of effort required.

In order to do so, athletes must have great control and understanding of how their body moves. From a young age, children begin to develop their gross motor skills such as running, jumping, throwing, kicking. This phase of exploration and learning helps to build strong foundations for the learning of more complex skills later in life.

By screening their movement competency, we are able to nurture the development of these skills so that they are able to perform more complex sport specific skills as they grow older.

Furthermore, those that have movement competency are more likely to participate and continue participating in sport which further increases the possibility of future success.

2. Determine the Athlete’s Physical Growth and Maturity

How often do you see a more physically mature 13 year old who is a head taller than their opponent dominating in sports such as basketball.

It is important to accept that athletes develop physically at different rates. How old they are biological can be very different to how old they are chronologically (years since date of birth).

If young athletes grow at different rates, it is most likely that their development in sport will follow the same trend. By screening where they are relative to their peak height velocity (period of greatest acceleration in physical growth and stature), we are able to facilitate training that will benefit them at their stage of development both physically (eg. neural and hormonal adaptations) and psychologically (eg. coping with the relative age effect). 

3. Reducing the Risk of Injury

As athletes grow, their access to a wider variety of sports increases resulting in them participating in more than one sport and sometimes more than one sport at once.

Furthermore, representative selection begins resulting in athletes participating in even more sessions throughout the week from school, to club to representative level sport. This increase in participation may lead to the athlete doing more than their body is physically capable of, leading to overload injuries.

By screening movement and working on movement quality over time, athletes begin to move more efficiently, and with the right education around training volume, their risk of overload injuries decrease.

Junior Athletic Movement Assessment

At Precision Athletica, our Junior Athlete Movement Assessment entails 3 parts:

  • Anthropometry to assess and track physical growth
  • Gross Motor Skill Testing to assess for general physical development
  • Gym-based Movement Patterns Testing to assess their movement competency in movements you would typically find in a Strength and Conditioning program. In doing so, we are able to prepare them for structured gym based training which they are likely to experience at some stage of their athletic journey at Precision Athletica or elsewhere. 

 

If you would like to know more about the Junior Athletic Movement Assessment, please contact our Exercise Physiologist Justin Trang.

You can also call the centre on: 02 9764 5787

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