Physical Literacy & Athlete Development

Do you train your athletes with passion? Beyond inspirational locker room talk, play-by-play game analysis, and vigorous practice sessions lie the keys to peak athletic performance and a lifetime of improved health. Armed with basic knowledge of athletic conditioning principles, you can drive your athletes to develop an affinity for modern sport conditioning that rivals their hunger for competition. In the first part of this series we will discuss some of the pertinent theory of athletic conditioning, followed in part two with a discussion of more traditional fitness exercises and equipment,...Read more
A new academic year is underway and if you are thinking of going to school to pursue a career in the sports medicine field, medicine, physiotherapy and athletic therapy can all take you the distance to the sports medicine clinic. Leading the sports medicine health care team are physicians who hold diplomas from the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine (CASM). Sports medicine is a growing clinical specialty, which has branched out considerably from its original work with elite athletes. In recent years, as new athlete populations have emerged, sports medicine doctors have become sub-specialized...Read more
Preventable injuries appear to be booming in children's sports. Although no Canadian figures are available, in the U.S. 3 million sports injuries are now seen annually in hospital emergency rooms and 5 million in doctor's offices, Dr. Ross Outerbridge, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon told SportMedBC. Dr. Jack Taunton of UBC's Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre agrees: " We are seeing more kids participating in sports now than in the past and the demands and expectations on them are higher." Sports injuries generally fall into two categories: overuse and traumatic...Read more
Many people reflect to their youth and remember playing several sports and spending their spare time in spontaneous play and pick up games. Today, many youngsters specialize in just one or two sports and spend their remaining time on sedentary activities - television, video games, computers and the web. The unhealthy aspects of this trend are further compounded when you factor in the startling growth of fast food chains and the many "quick-fix" food choices that are aggressively marketed to youth. The cumulative result is a generation of kids who are less fit and less athletic. The...Read more
When working with athletes in the sport of figure skating, we must focus on creating longevity and mobility for the athletes and their future. Many factors must be considered when analyzing how to carry a talented 12 year-old skater through the ranks of figure skating, resulting in a successful international senior skater. To create a depth of future talent in the sport we need to start at the grassroots; we need to be passionate about the sport and we need to make it a fun and positive experience for everyone involved. To create longevity and mobility for the athletes, the supporting...Read more
Young athletes nowadays can safely train and develop skill levels unmatched by their predecessors but the intensity of the training must be closely monitored. During this phase of development intensive training programs can expose young athletes to health risks not seen in adults. The health risks are related to an increased risk of injury to the growth centres of the immature skeleton, as well as the effects on overall growth, maturation, and psychological well-being. The young athlete's skeletal uniqueness of growth cartilage is the essence of their physical vulnerability to injuries as...Read more
Research consistently shows that low energy availability alters the neuroendocrine axis, resulting in menstrual dysfunction, low bone mineral density (BMD) and increased risk for bone stress injury (BSI)/stress fractures in female athletes. This is terms Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport or Female Athlete Triad. The same research has not yet been done in males. However, male athletes may also experience an analogous process that parallels the female athlete triad. Adolescence represent a critical time for accruing peak bone mass. Identifying risk factors for threatened bone health is...Read more
A key component to injury prevention in youth sports is the proper utilization of athletic equipment. Equipment guidelines are variable and specific for each sport so it is important to check with the national governing sport body regarding current and specific protocols. As youth athlete’s grow and develop the size and padding needs of the equipment must change accordingly. Protective equipment such as mouthguards, padding, proper foot wear, helmets, eye wear, gloves etc should always be worn when engaging in the sport, regardless if it is a practice or a game. Coaches and parents...Read more
Creating and Utilizing a Facilities Checklist: An easy way to prevent injuries in sport is to ensure that the athletic facilities are always safe for use. Creating a facilities checklist is an effective way to implement a safety protocol that all coaches can follow before beginning practices or games with their team. This checklist can be created in conjunction with the local facility/field manager and the athletic club. Utilization of this checklist can be easily carried out by coaches, designated parents, or club personnel. Using a written checklist allows the person checking the site to...Read more
How does being fit make you healthier? The blood vessels of a fit person tend to accumulate less plaque than those of an unfit person, leading to a lower risk of heart attack or stroke. Additionally, a person who exercises will improve his or her circulatory system in a general, in part by making the lining of the blood vessels more flexible, so that the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump the blood through the body. The result is that even if there are blockages in the blood vessels, the circulation around those blockages will improve. (There’s still some debate about...Read more