We are experts at delivering evidence based clinical exercise prescription and lifestyle modification guidance. We skilfully and respectfully combine our expertise to inspire, educate and motivate our clientele as they face new obstacles and strive for change. We will achieve our goals by collaborating and developing our diverse skill sets, by being flexible in our thinking and behaviour, and being persistent. We will employ people who share our goals and who have the skills that we will support and enhance to achieve those goals.
24 Yuille St, Frankston South
Melbourne
Victoria
3199
Australia

Junior Athlete Development

By Mark Simpson, Accredited Exercise Physiologist

 Our role as Accredited Exercise Physiologists is to help people Move Better, Feel Better & Perform Better. This simple goal summarises the work we put into each and every client, whether they are seeing us for Rehabilitation, Health, Fitness or Performance goals.

Junior athletes present us with a unique opportunity to teach good movement patterns at a developmental age as they have the ability to learn new skills/movement patterns at a rapid rate. Not only does this decrease injury risk in the short term, but lays the movement foundations for success later in life. Once an athlete has developed competent movement patterns, they can then load these same patterns via resistance training in adolescent years and beyond.

SO WHAT IS A JUNIOR ATHLETE?

Put simply, a junior athlete is anyone from 8-16 years of age who is regularly participating or competing in 1 or multiple sports at any level. It's important to note that there are many stages of development that occur across this age range, and as a result the specific advice varies, this article will cover general advice which is suitable for all junior athletes. Additionally, the key movement competencies discussed in this article apply to athletic development at every level, so would be suitable to implement for a 17-30+ year old who is commencing a training program with no background in Strength & Conditioning. Developing competent movement patterns as a skill is more important for long term injury reduction & performance optimisation than strength development alone, we term this "Learning before Loading".

SO WHAT ARE THESE KEY MOVEMENT PATTERNS?

Development of the below key movement competencies in junior athletes helps to decrease risk of both acute & overuse injury. These movements should be viewed as a skill, which need to be learned, as opposed to an exercise to simply get stronger or fitter. An example of this is the ability to land on a single leg with good control, which significantly reduces the risk of knee & ankle injuries. The best way to improve this is via skill acquisition, ie: Practice makes Perfect.

The below outlines a few key movement patterns, which we believe every junior athlete should develop. Whilst there are other important areas of development, these fundamentals are seen across the majority of programs. Additionally, these can be easily implemented at home or your local junior sports club.

Movement Patterns

Movement Coaching Cues

Squat

  •       Feet slightly wider than hips
  •       Hands in front/ Keep chest up
  •        Sit hips down & back
  •        Maintain Knee alignment with middle toes
  •        Strong movement on way up

Jump & Land

  •          Hands Up, Tall Posture
  •          Hands Down, Sit into Squat, keep chest high
  •          Explode Up, using arm swing to produce force
  •          Land on toes, bending hips & knees to absorb force
  •          Practice sticking the landing/ pause at bottom

Single Leg Jump & Land

  •          As above
  •          Place additional focus on maintaining knee alignment with   middle toe

Single Leg Hip Hinge

  •          Single Leg with soft bend in knee
  •          Broomstick along back
  •          Hinge forward on Hip,
  •          Maintain broomstick contact on head, spine & hips
  •          Maintain knee alignment with middle toe

To find out more specific strategies to implement a Junior Athlete Development program or to arrange a FREE Workshop for your sporting club, please contact us on info@pacehm.com.au or 9770 6770.


MENTAL HEALTH & EXERCISE

Written By Ben Southam - Accredited Exercise Physiologist

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Mental Health has been thrust into the spotlight over the past few years and with good reason too. Recent statistics show that 45% of Australians will suffer a mental health condition in their lifetime while right now 1 million Australians are suffering depression while a further 2 million Australians are suffering from anxiety.

We continually see great work being done by organisations such as beyond blue & headspace which have changed the mindset of the general population and demonstrated that Mental health needs to be respected as a health condition similar to that of a torn ACL or type 2 diabetes instead of frowned upon like it may have been in the past. It is through this great work that new research and treatment options have become available to assist those suffering from depression and anxiety.

From this, further exploration has been done on the benefits exercise can play in improving mental health. Research has shown that exercise may be just as effective, if not, more effective than medication and psychotherapy at reducing symptoms associated with mental illnesses. During and after exercise, our body releases chemicals, including serotonin and endorphins, which act as our ‘feel good’ hormones, making us feel more energetic and positive.

So what else has research found?

  • Just one session of exercise can have the ability to lower anxiety, having similar effects to medication
  • Exercise can lower anxiety long-term and make you feel calmer and in control.
  • When suffering from depression, research has shown that exercise can halve a persons perceived feeling of depression and more than 40% of people will stay that way for at least 3 months.
  • Active individuals are also 45% less likely to develop symptoms of depression.
  • Improved mood and self-esteem
  • Decreased stress levels
  • Increased social participation and feeling of belonging
  • Improved sleep quality

As Exercise Physiologists we will always strive to assist all people in improving their quality of life and general “healthiness” by assisting people with their physical activities levels, knowledge of exercise benefits and health coaching. So how much exercise should be done?

Just 20-40 minutes of aerobic exercise (i.e. brisk walk, jogging, riding, swimming) can be enough to improve anxiety and mood for several hours. Non-aerobic activity (i.e. yoga, strength training and relaxation) has also been shown to reduce anger, depression and confusion. Exercising regularly (daily) will have a more positive effect on mental health.

Never exercised before or starting back up? Top tips:

  • Start small (15 minutes of walking per day) and build up gradually (to 30 min per day)
  • Select an activity you enjoy
  • Exercise with a friend or family member
  • Choose places that you are familiar with and don’t increase anxiety levels
  • Use a pedometer or other apps to count you daily steps. (aim for 10,000)

With new research continually coming out in regards to exercise benefits and mental health, it is time to identify that this modality should form a vital role in helping people manage mental health appropriately.

“Physical activity is the most natural and accessible means to improve mental health”

– Poirel et al 2017

Refer to the links below for more information on exercise and mental illness:

https://www.beyondblue.org.au

http://exerciseismedicine.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2014-Depression-FULL.pdf

http://www.exerciseismedicine.org/assets/page_documents/EIM%20Rx%20series_Exercising%20with%20Anxiety%20and%20Depression_2.pdf

http://exerciseright.com.au/dementia-alzheimers-disease/

http://exerciseright.com.au/mental-health/