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The Training And Specialization Of Today

’s Young Athletes Essay, Research Paper The Training and Specialization of Today’s Young Athletes History and Philosophy of Sport and Recreation 12/12/00

’s Young Athletes Essay, Research Paper

The Training and Specialization of Today’s Young Athletes

History and Philosophy of Sport and Recreation

12/12/00

In the world of sports today there is a much greater interest in finding talent at a very young age. Unfortunately, one must question whether this interest is a personal interest for others who have something to gain, or a genuine beneficial interest for the young athlete. It seem as though everyone today has the “what’s in it for me mentality”, which can be dangerous. These people, whether it be other athletes, coaches, or parents train athletes at too young of an age. There are four factors that support why today’s youth should not be rigorously or specially trained. The four factors are the athlete’s nutrition, time, physical state, and mental state.

Before we go into the reasons why young athletes should not be trained too hard too early, we must assess why others feel a need to. As our world of technology increases, so to does media coverage. Now, more than ever, there is vast media coverage of national and international competition in sports such as gymnastics, figure skating, swimming, diving, tennis, and several others. In each of these sports there has been an extreme amount of focus placed very young competitors. Simply put, people are trying to replicate these athletes, which are nothing more than anomalies. Parents, youngsters, and coaches see these young athletes and the success they’re having and are inspired by it. The hopes are of obtaining a college scholarship, having a professional career, or even competing in the Olympics. In fact, most Olympic sports have a selection process that identifies promising talent and immediately begins specialized training, sometimes before the child finishes grade school. The discouraging rate of success in regard to each of these goals is slim to none, but it does not deter people. For any athlete to compete at these levels of competition they must undertake a strict training regiment at an extremely young age, and risk their entire childhood.

The first reason why young athletes should not be trained to hard is because of a lack of nutrition. An individual’s calorie intake must be increased with any type of strenuous exercise. When athletes attend school for seven hours and have after school practices for another two and half to three hours they are not eating enough to be trained rigorously. This means five days a week they go ten hours with only a lunch in between. Besides sheer lack of meals, athletes become depleted of certain necessary vitamins and minerals by sweating and working out. The parent and coach must question themselves as to whether the athlete is getting a balanced diet? A balanced diet includes: 2-3 servings of fish, poultry, lean meat, or eggs, 3-4 servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese, 6-11 servings of breads, cereals, rice and pasta, 2-4 servings of fruit, and 3-5 servings of vegetables. In a world of cafeteria food, and fast food, do these young athletes get these necessary ingredients for a balanced diet? If athletes are being over trained and not eating much, they risk losing muscle strength, stamina, and having an overall lack of energy. It is documented that athletes need about 1 to 1.5 kilograms of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. What this translates into is about 75-100 grams of protein per day. Athletes can also be dehydrated very easily. The human body requires eight cups of fluid a day. In addition an individual can lose upwards of six cups of fluid during a strict one-hour workout. Dehydration can not be detected very easily. People traditionally think that thirst is the only indicator of dehydration, but it is not. The color of urine is often a primary indicator. How often do young athletes document the color of their urine? It is recommended that people should drink two cups of fluid for every pound lost during exercise. It is also advised that athletes should drink two cups of water two hours before exercise and one cup every fifteen minutes during a rigorous workout.

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Dietary needs of young athletes. 19 Oct 2000. Espn training room. 2 Dec 2000

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