Why Conditioning Matters!

Dr. Carol Frey

A year-around or preseason conditioning program is important for all athletes – weekend warriors and serious competitors alike! And here is my medical advice as to why that is…

  • Weight lifting is key to prevention, and all athletes are considered beginners unless they have strength training incorporated into their program. At an early age the benefits include neuromuscular conditioning but very little addition of mass to their physique. At an older age, the mass will build, and the muscle will grow. The stronger and larger muscles can help protect the ACL of the female volleyball player, and in football players the stronger neck muscles help prevent concussion.

    Advance only 10 percent

  • If a kid is starting a new sport, the duration of distance for each sport should be advanced around 10 percent per week as tolerated. The same with weight training. Only advance 10 percent of previously lifted weight.
  • The running athlete most likely should get new shoes every 300 miles because the midsole cushioning loses its ability to absorb shock around that mileage. Mark your kids’ shoes inside with a Sharpie. Note the date and then track the usage on a calendar, the shoes from behind on a counter, without the kid in them, and if they lean to one side or another, they are worn out and should be replaced.

    Take a day or two off!

  • To better your conditioning, kids should have about one to two days off each week. Furthermore, there should be an off-season of at least four weeks that is worked into the year for each sport played. This is hard to do if your kids play club sports, which can be scheduled year-around.
  • Playing another sport during the off-season is okay, especially if it uses other mechanics and muscle groups. Again, this will help the conditioning of the young athlete throughout the year.
  • Tuck your kids into bed early so they get a minimum of eight hours of sleep, especially if injured. A lot of body repair goes on at night while asleep. And conditioning entails rest as well.
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