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Coaches welcome strength training component as part of Jamaica/China programme

Monday, August 27, 2018

With strength training being a critical aspect of sports and physical fitness programmes for young people, basketball coach Dave Black welcomes the strength-training component with the girls in China.

Black, who is currently in China as part of the Jamaica/China Technical Assistance Project on Sports Coaching Programme, in revealing that most of the players have never been a part of regular strength training, pointed out that the recent exposure to the programme in the East Asian nation is bearing fruit.

He explained that with just over four weeks exposure to a strength programme in China, the players have become much stronger, both physically and mentally, coupled with some improvements to their respective game.

“In the beginning some of the girls were reluctant to apply themselves to the gym, but in short order they began asking for more gym sessions. You can see a definite stronger post up against the opponent — from improved legs, core and arm strength.

“The Chinese in their coaching pays a lot of attention to some minor details which reap big results,” Black shared, adding that he will be recommending it to the Jamaica Basketball Association (JABA) upon his return.

Basketball is one of the seven disciplines for which athletes and coaches are currently in China as part of the programme. Swimming, artistic swimming, volleyball, gymnastics, football, and badminton are the others.

Research has shown that young athletes who want to improve sports performance generally will benefit more from practising and perfecting the skills of their sport than from strength training alone.

Even though strength training should be part of a multifaceted approach to exercise and fitness, if long-term health benefits are the goal, then strength training should be combined with an aerobic training programme.

Appropriately supervised programmes emphasising strengthening of the core are also suitable for children and theoretically benefit sports-specific skill acquisition and postural control.

Meanwhile, certified strength and conditioning specialist Dialo-Rudolph Brown, who has been working with Kaizen Swim Club for the past two years, endorse strength training for pre-adolescent and adolescent athletes and non-athletes alike.

Brown points to general joint integrity gained from strength training which lessens the likelihood of injury in sports, as well as the strengthening of muscle groups that support the main muscles associated with the various sports.

“Many times athletes develop muscular imbalances from frequent use or overuse of particular muscle groups, while the opposing or balancing muscle groups get undertrained.

“This disparity can predispose to injury. Properly designed strength training balances both sides of the body and all relevant muscle groups to help minimise this risk, while also enhancing performances. In the case of swimming, for example, the propulsive forces generated by a swimmer would be symmetrical and more effective,” Brown explained.

With some coaches reluctant to introduce their athletes to strength training, which includes weight-training, Brown stated that years of research have shown that growth plates are not damaged by this strength training and adolescent athletes will benefit from properly designed strength training.