The Biggest Loser……..Our View of Kids
We have all seen or heard of the show The Biggest Loser and many feel that this is the best approach with kids. Belittle and berate them with the hopes that they will be broken down so coaches can “build” them back up. I can say that this approach is acceptable for adults (if that is what they want), however, is a much poorer approach with children. Adults are biologically and psychologically prepared for this type of treatment, but children are not. We often drive children to the breaking point thus turning them away from particular sports and an active life. Childhood obesity is on the rise and we as adults are trying to attack it from a logical point of view. We need to attack it with a child like passion, with raw emotion based on science. The real kicker is, it doesn’t take science to know that the more active an individual is, the more energy they expend, and wait for it…..the more weight they lose. Now with that being said, lets apply that same principle to coaching children in athletics. Often we pursue coaching from an adult standpoint, trying to accomplish particular goals because that is what we are comfortable doing. Let’s step outside the box and not think of children like our equals—they are still kids and the science lays out a wonderful model of developing them. The kicker is the Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) model actually has the potential to lead to better athletes, but still allows for children to learn healthy lifestyles. Look at the way you or your child’s coaching model is portrayed, if it the “Jillian” model (from the Biggest Loser) then the retention rate will be lower for kids to continue athletics thus increasing the potential for obesity.
All of the muscles that flex the wrist and fingers as well as rotate the hand to a palm down position attach on the inside (medial) portion of the elbow. When these muscles contract, they can fracture the bone where they attach. This is very common in little league baseball, thus the term “Little Leaguer’s Elbow”. The area that is fractured is not responsible for growth but is key for stability, strength, and normal function of the elbow.
For a split second all of the force during the throwing motion is isolated to this area no bigger then a quarter. Excessive force or excessive repetition of non excessive force can lead to the detachment of the growth center.
Most of these injuries do not require surgery, however, many do. The surgery is usually in the form of pins or screws, but the recovery is normal or very near normal.
The most dangerous risk in this injury is the risk of missing it. If displaced and unrecognized, injury to this area of the elbow can be devastating in the long term.
This is a question that I am asked quite often. There is no perfectly correct answer. The key for all athletes, especially young athletes, is to make sure that the muscles of the shoulder are balanced. Generally, I would simply encourage 2 “pulling” type exercises for every 1 “pushing “ type exercise. The small muscles on the back of the shoulder blade (scapula) and the rotator cuff muscles all provide balancing forces for the stronger muscles in the front of the chest like the pectoral muscles.
If I had to choose one exercise for young baseball players to do….it would without question be the “Sleeper” stretch. The Sleeper stretch helps make sure that the back of the shoulder doesn’t get too tight. The sleeper stretch is an injury preventer – plain and simple.
The sleeper stretch should be included in any “pre-hab” (as we call it) program. A full exercise and pre-hab routine is a vital part of both in season and off season workouts for youth baseball players