Strength Training And Youth Basketball
When the player has reached his growing peak in height which usually doesn’t stop until sophomore or junioryear in high school for most boys is the age we recommend strength training with weights. However more and more middle school programs require kids to workout in weight rooms and the intensity have become increasingly harder as high schools are becoming more competitive and pressuring middle schools to have their kids start lifting earlier in an attempt to gain an advantage. This is counterproductive to those athletes because it puts stress on bones and joints which will slower their growing rate, as well as making the muscles bigger and stronger which only tightens ligaments and tendons connecting to the bones so when growing does occur the muscles will be more resistant to stretching and pulling of the bones during the growth phase.
Instead of lifting weights and building strength, players should focus more on stretching, flexibility, and balance and coordination exercises. These will help prevent injuries down the road, and will build a solid foundation for any athlete so when the growing spurt happens, they will be able to adjust quickly and with little trouble.
A few good coordination exercises for young basketball players is dribbling with tennis balls, work on one tennis ball then try to accomplish dribbling two tennis balls at a high success rate. Involving balance is a great tool for increasing coordination because it is the foundation so working on simple balance exercises will go a long ways. Standing on one leg and shifting your own body weight in different directions will really help tap into your central nervous system and will help you grow into your body quicker. Speak to your pediatrician or family doctor and ask for a recommendation to a strength trainer who specializes in dynamic, body weight only movements.