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Youth Sports Management Tips & Best Practices

Youth Sports Conditioning: Weeding Out the Dysfunction in Movement

By Chad Estes on 11/12/2015

When we look at elite performers, we only see the ‘tip of the iceberg’ – and the lessons learned from the Titanic tell us there is always much more to what we see than meets the eye. We see the plyometrics, we see the high intensity workouts and we see the supplements, but at the bottom of the pyramid of sporting skill lies one thing – MOVEMENT. 

Without good movement skill, one will never become athletic.  Without being athletic, one will never be a great athlete.   What we learned as children serves as the foundation on which we build everything else.   Bear crawls for youth sports conitioning

If a kid can’t crawl well, why do we think that when we add speed or load when they are standing that those limitations are going to disappear?  Guess what – they won’t!  Training inefficient movement patters will lead to injury.

Use the below instructions as a guideline to help your players ‘weed out’ any dysfunction that exists in their movement repertoire. 


Before just telling the kids to drop onto all fours and start bear crawling, allow them the opportunity to learn how to be on their hands and feet comfortably and effectively.  

This can be done by providing the time for them to ‘feel’ what it’s like to simply be on their hands and feet simultaneously (and in different combinations) without having to worry about moving too much from this position just yet.

Our brains thrive on novelty.  In layman’s terms, there is something called the ‘least noticeable difference’ (LND).  The LND describes a neurological phenomenon that dictates that the more you slow down and decrease the effort, the more differences your brains can sense.

By allowing the kids to practice the steps below with a minimum amount of effort, it allows their nervous system to pick out many subtle differences in terms of the way in which they move.  This will benefit their brains when it comes to organizing movement in the future.

Continue Reading - Download the full article and image guide here. 


Chad Estes

Co-Founder and Chief Technologist for Engage Sports, providing sports league websites, online registration and league management. Over the years, Rich has coached football, basketball, baseball and fastpitch softball. He has also severed as a board member for football and lacrosse organizations in the St. Louis area.


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