I was working with an Adult client yesterday who is in his early 30’s and suffers from a variety of issues, most of which stem from bad habits in posture and exercise. Most of our time during each session is spent re-learning specific movement patterns and establishing habits for good posture throughout the day. As someone who is very active, quite strong, and INTENSE to put it lightly, this “easy” workout program is hard to stomach. During our session he made a comment that to me was profound, he said “Do you mean to tell me that if I learned how to exercise properly when I played sports in high school I wouldn’t have all of these problems today?” Now while I can’t say that all of the problems wouldn’t exist, I can assure you that all of the bad habits developed over the years wouldn’t. This really made me think about the kids we work with and how much easier it is to establish a good habit than it is to break a bad one.
My second major in college was Psychology and throughout that curriculum I took classes in addiction and psychopahrmacaology. When looking at addiction from a behavioral therapy stand point, one of the hardest elements of treating addiction is removing the bad habits that trigger addictive behavioral. We see this everyday at our facility. The athletes who come in that have been “training” for a few years are often the most difficult to teach. They have an abundance of bad habits that have developed and these are very difficult to break. We now not only have to teach them new movements but also un-teach them any bad habits that they have acquired. With a new athlete we only have to teach them the new movements and concepts without the painstaking process of breaking old habits. The athletes that have never learned it “wrong” have a much easier time learning it “right.”
Many of these bad habits stem from the athlete going to a “big box” gym with their friends or parent and trying to replicate what they see others do. While I applaud the parent that takes their son/daughter to a gym to exercise or buys them a membership to the gym when they’re old enough, I encourage you to bring your young athlete to be coached by a professional. That’s what we are here for. To help young athletes to reach their goals and be successful in their sport but most importantly to teach them to be safe while training to get there.
The proof is there. Look up the best high school and college sports teams and I would bet that you will find a great strength and conditioning program to go along with them. Learn good habits early and excel faster and farther later on. Just look at the Olympics – Eastern Europe and Asian countries start their children with learning the discipline and fundamentals of weight training at extremely young ages and they come out and dominate us year after year