Local coaches have been implored to have knowledge about the physiological characteristics of young athletes to avoid unnecessary injuries.
The call was made by the Associate Professor of Applied Exercise Physiology at UB Ignatius Onyewadume during a Botswana Sports Science and Medicine Symposium held at the University of Botswana this past Friday.
The symposium had brought together Sports Science and Medicine experts and local coaches to share ideas on the importance of sports science in athletes’ development.
Sharing with participants on ways of preventing injuries through fitness training for young athletes, Professor Onyewadume said a good knowledge of an athlete’s physiological characteristics can help coaches and athletes adhere to proper injury prevention guidelines.
Onyewadume explained that athletes have various growth segments associated with maturity and unique responses to skeletal injuries so they need programmed training for fitness.
He highlighted that coaches need to program, plan and implement all year round training season for young athletes in terms of off season, pre season and on season trainings to enhance performance.
He said periodization is effective in decreasing injury and overtraining because coaches can plan cross training methods which includes training in other sports activities than one’s specific competitive code.
“To achieve peak performance and overtraining, young players need a variety of activities so that they change routine. Therefore when dealing with youngsters make use of other parameters different from their daily sporting activities like swimming and football,” Onyewadume said.
Onyewadume said in his encounters with elite athletes, he has realised that it is important to start fitness in athletes as early as primary level for improved performance and injury prevention.
He said lack of early development of athletes affect their coordination, skills and perception because it takes several attempts for them to grasp what they are being taught.
The Botswana Sports Science and Medicine Symposium, which was hosted by Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) was held under the theme ‘From Youth to Elite Sport Performance: The Role of Sport Science and Medicine.’