Youth Athletics & the Laws of Economics, Physics

There are two forces that are inherent in preparing for sports: the laws of physics and the laws of economics. I'll explain both in some charts to help make the laws clear, then I'll completely blow your mind at the end showing you how you can use these laws to your advantage.

Laws of Physics

In athletic training we seek to maximize the force muscles can create while factoring in the need for speed, quickness, and agility. In the chart below you see the Force Velocity Curve.

The sport you're training for depends where you'd fall on the chart. If you're training for Powerlifting and only want to lift as much as possible, you'd be on the far left part of the chart. If you wanted to train for the 100 meter dash, you'd want to be on the right side. If you want to maximize your overall athleticism for, say, football, baseball, or volleyball, you'd want to have a little bit of everything.


Law #1: Diminishing Marginal Returns

Sport specific training is subject to the law of diminishing marginal returns. Year round travel teams, specialization camps, and practices eventually don't yield as much benefit per commitment.

But Sam, specialization, a well established economic principle, can help the athlete get better in that one area more than their peers. Good point, however, specialization, particularly early in an athlete's career, can actual hinder, rather than help an athlete's development. Patrick Mahomes didn't just throw a football all the time to be one of the best quarterbacks in the game.

In normal economic production, this is what Diminishing Marginal Return looks like. The orange line is the amount produced per one additional unit of labor. The red line is TOTAL production. HOWEVER, Sports Training is a little different.

In sport training though, production cannot go below zero. If production goes below zero, then the player is injured and cannot play at all. Meaning they cannot produce at all.
Focusing too much on one sport eventually leads to the athlete getting burnt out and overuse injuries occur.

Law #2: Opportunity Cost

Opportunity Cost is something you CANNOT DO as a result of DOING XYZ activity. So that extra travel team and 6 camps you're kid is doing is coming at the expense of something else.

One of the likely things that you're NOT doing is meaningful, progressive, Strength Training Program, but it should absolutely be a larger part of your child's athletic development.

Now, I'm not saying to NOT do those extra camps and teams.

I'm saying use the information gained through the Law of Diminishing Marginal Return to find where the value gained isn't worth the effort output.



Let's go back to the Strength and Velocity chart from the beginning. That chart is not STATIC, but actually grows with training.

A smart strength and performance coach wants to get you stronger, faster, and more resilient to injury. Their goal is to shift the entire curve OUT by increasing your overall force and velocity.

Your athlete gets lots of benefit from replacing some of those camps or travel teams with strength training. They increase their overall athleticism, they decrease the likelihood of burnout, and are more resilient to injury!! Overall, THIS INCREASES THEIR ATHLETIC OUTPUT!!

The stronger, faster, and more resilient they are, the more they'll get from the activities you have them do! They'll be less likely they are to get injured, they'll be less burnt out because it won't be all SPORT all the time, they'll recover better from their workouts, and lots of other benefits!

Your athlete cannot escape the laws of physics and economics. Use this information to set your athlete up for success -- get them involved in strength training to diversify their sport demands, increase their force and speed production, prevent burnout and ultimately have them achieve more success on the field!!

Contact me today to get your athlete training to dominate on the field and in life!!

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