Just a quick glance at any playground will confirm that kids are natural jumpers. Most have a tendency to leap at any opportunity — whether on a sports field, or in the middle of the grocery store. But even though many of them love jumping, that doesn't mean they don't risk injury when it happens during practice or competition.
Improper training technique with jumping is one of the reasons that many emergency rooms and physician offices are seeing a rise in sports injuries among young athletes. When kids land poorly, they risk hurting their joints, bones, tendons, and muscles, and could be setting themselves up for long recovery periods — sometimes, a bad jump takes them out of a sport completely.
Although there are many strategies for preventing youth injuries, jump training should be part of any training regimen. Here are the main reasons why:
All athletes struggle with weaknesses and limitations, but young athletes have different concerns than adults. They have changing muscle mass and growing bones, and their joints can be more prone to overuse injuries because of tight tendons.
For example, inadequate training can cause Osgood-Schlatter disease, a condition caused by injury or overuse of the knee that results in swelling of the patellar tendon and the soft tissues surrounding it. Adolescent athletes are at much higher risk for this disease. Jump training can minimize these risks and teach young athletes to protect their whole bodies, including tendons and muscles, while they're practicing and playing.
Performance and Optimization
Preventing injuries is a significant part of jump training, but the optimization aspects are also a major benefit. By learning to jump properly, young athletes can increase speed and endurance, and advance in their chosen sports at a faster pace.
Jump training can even cause advantages in other ways. For example, a recent study showed that when jump training was followed by resistance training, overall performance soared for adolescent basketball players.
In general, it's important for young athletes to learn control and body mechanics so they can be safer in any type of movement, including jumping. Taking the time and effort to integrate jump training into everyday practice can go a long way toward preventing injuries and improving performance
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