06 Oct Disastrous Things for Youth Female Athletes
I was tempted to title this blog, “I Want To Bang My Head Against A Wall” or “Things That Make My Eyes Hurt” but I’m trying to optimize the Google algorithm. I also don’t want to be overly dramatic, but this is worth getting a little feisty over.
Let’s get to it…
The other day, I tweeted this list of disasters for young female athletes:
Let’s dive in and explain they these are total disasters for your female athletes.
1.) No Resistance Training
I’ve been shouting the benefits of resistance training for several years, and still getting louder.
Here’s what you need to know: strength training gives female athletes’ muscles the strength to handle the year-round load of organized sports. If girls aren’t strong enough, the forces from dynamic actions like cutting, sprinting, and changing direction will go to the bones and joints and cause stress fractures, soft tissue injuries, and ACL tears.If girls aren't strong enough, the forces from dynamic actions like cutting, sprinting, and changing direction will go to the bones and joints and cause stress fractures, soft tissue injuries, and ACL tears Click To Tweet
For a year-round strength program, GET TOTAL YOUTH SOCCER FITNESS 365.
Other benefits of resistance training include:
– Reduction of inflammation
– Improved immune function
– Bolstered heart health
– Improved body composition
– Improved confidence
You can’t go wrong with getting strong.
2.) Two Sports In Same Season
This one triggered a lot of folks. I understand parents want their kids involved in multiple activities and they support the research on early sampling for motor skill development.
However, sampling becomes dangerous jammed into the same 2-3 month season. This especially goes for sports that are similar in movements, such as soccer and lacrosse, field hockey and lacrosse, basketball and soccer. The amount of load on the joints accumulates into chronic stress, and the muscles are given very little time to recover. Adding onto the mess, if kids are not resistance training to handle two sports in same season, do not be surprised if they suffer IT band syndrome, Osgood-Schlatter, or muscles strains in the hamstrings, hips and quadriceps.
Check out this article on the research behind this.
3.) Icing Injuries
And this was another triggering one. This is because folks have been icing injuries all these years, and just doing as told on Google without digging deeper on the why behind it.
All icing an injury does is numb pain temporarily, yet doesn’t solve the root of the problem.All icing an injury does is numb pain temporarily, yet doesn't solve the root of the problem. Click To Tweet
A knee sprain, for example, needs blood flow so that it can begin the healing process. Too, the joint also needs nutrients like protein and collagen so that the integrity of the joint becomes stronger. Adding on, the knee needs the muscles that safeguard it to become stronger than they were prior to injury. Icing, to that end, doesn’t make a joint more durable, nor does it make a joint more protected.Icing doesn't make a joint more durable, nor does it make a joint more protected. Click To Tweet
Consequently, encouraging female athletes to “just ice it!” enables a quick fix that doesn’t make them resilient for the long run and to handle the aggressive demands of the game when they return to the pitch. Sure, you can ice while strengthening, but remember, the joint and muscles need blood flow to heal.
4.) Pushing Through Growing Pains
Too often, young girls push through their knee pain for instant gratification, when this hinders long-term health.
Check out this video here to learn how to navigate this time:
The majority of female athletes under-fuel. In fact, in my conversations with my Registered Dietician colleagues, most girls fail to meet their caloric needs.
This becomes problematic because their muscles never get out of a catabolic state (breaking down), and it makes it hard for them to recover at their best so they can perform better the next competition.
Under-fueling can also lead to hindered sleep, decreased focus and energy, and missed periods.
The best podcast on performance nutrition is with my colleague Pratik Patel HERE.
6.) Missed Menstrual Cycles
Girls do not get a badge of honor for missing their periods. It means they have underlying health problems that need to be addressed. If they have missed more than a few months of their cycle, this could mean:
– They aren’t eating enough
– They aren’t sleeping enough
– They are over-stressed
– They are over-training
7.) Not Sleeping
Recovery is two things: nutrition and SLEEP.
I don’t care how many Cryotherapy sessions you do, nor do I care how many advertisements you see for fancy recovery gadgets. The majority of these do not solve the neurological and physiological issues that athletes face when they are sore.
Sleeping is the #1 aid for muscle recovery, as the majority of Growth Hormone secretion occurs to build muscles back up again from their catabolic state.
Expounding further, sleep enhances brain recovery so athletes can regain their focus, energy and motivation and reactivity for competition.
Get. To. Bed.
8.) Deficiency In Iron, Vitamin D And Calcium
For the female athlete, these are the nutrients they are the most deficient in, and these are the nutrients that build stronger bones, a robust immune system, and elevate energy levels.
Other nutrients to keep in mind: Magnesium (muscle relaxant) and Omega 3s (brain, joint and heart health).
9.) Keeping Toxic Friendships
A female athlete’s relationships are rarely talked about in the performance world. This discussion needs to come to the forefront because she is hanging out with her friends the majority of her week.
Are her friends supporting her? Motivating her? Pushing her to level up her physical health, nutrition, and sleep?
Or are her friends out partying until late, eating junk food at the mall, or fit shaming her?
You are who you hang out with the most.
For more resources on female athlete speed, strength, agility and confidence training:
Get the TOTAL YOUTH SOCCER FITNESS EBOOK ON SALE FOR JUST $29 HERE
WORK WITH ME IN PERSON OR ONLINE AND BOOK A FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULT HERE
For COACHES OF FEMALE ATHLETES: get a 15 Module video library and in depth Zoom sessions on training the youth female athlete (Zooms begin last Tuesday of the month 12:30pm EST), join my FEMALE ATHLTE FITNESS MENTORSHIP HERE