By Jacob Sterny, Head Coach, Valhalla Barbell Club
Youth Weightlifting has a bad reputation with those in the outside community. More often than not youth athletes are kept out of lifting weights or competing in the sport of weightlifting because of some pretty deep seated fears that exist in our culture. “Weightlifting will stunt your growth”, or, “It’s really bad for their developing growth plates”, are some pretty common phrases us Youth Weightlifting coaches here every now and then. Today, I’d like to break down my Top 3 Benefits for Youth Weightlifting to hopefully put some of these common myths to rest.
1.Widening That Athletic Base
Youth athletes do not need early specialization. I repeat Youth Athlete’s do not need early specialization. Teaching a Youth Athlete how to Snatch and Clean and Jerk is a great way to already build on what they are doing outside of the gym on the playing field. I’m a huge believer that athletes need to do as much as they can early on in their athletic careers. The Snatch requires great coordination, speed, agility and finesse to perform. The Clean and Jerk requires great power and strength to complete. That is why both of these are valuable things to learn when looking to widen an athletes athletic base (making them a better overall athlete).
Practicing the Snatch and Clean and Jerk with a qualified and experienced weightlifting coach teaches an athlete how to move properly and safely when lifting objects. Proper technique is also stressed prior to any weight being added. Other lifts are taught to these athletes as well such as the squat, press and deadlift furthering these athletes along when they reach high school aged strength and conditioning programs. The amount of benefit in terms of injury prevention a youth athlete can receive from performing the weightlifting movements is outstanding as well. Moving the body under load, even the slightest, can lead to stronger ligaments, tendons and bones.
3.Focus and Accountability
With weightlifting being an individual sport, competing teaches the youth athlete accountability and focus. When a session or weightlifting meet does not go well there is usually no one else to point the fingers at but themselves. This helps develop maturity and accountability and teaches them that if they work hard enough, under the right coaching, they too can become great at the sport of weightlifting. Focus is also developed over the course of performing similar movements over and over again, in an effort to perfect technique.
Love of the Sport
Weightlifting is the world’s greatest sport. Weightlifting is the most fun you can have in a singlet. I am wholly and entirely biased but in my feeling this way I believe everyone needs to lift. Even youth athletes. When I first moved over to Valhalla Barbell Club a little over two years ago I was blessed with the opportunity to work with our very fun and large youth program. I believe this crew works the hardest out of anyone in our facility and for good reason. They too love the sport of weightlifting.
If you would like your youth athlete to give weightlifting a shot send me an email at email@example.com.
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