“No Pain, No Gain” is INSANE!
The manner of training your child with the mind-set of “NO PAIN, NO GAIN”, just makes no sense for your child and will do far more damage than good! Since the 1990’s, western countries are deviating from what has become a common refrain to encourage people to endure tough and painful work-outs in order to achieve the best results, but this is just not true! In fact, one should consider the more positive benefit to one’s body by learning to trainer smarter, and not necessarily harder, and more importantly, with less painful results. Sadly, in many developing countries, trained professionals still adhere to this common practice of training harder, but not smarter, and thus in the process injure many young athletes psychologically and physiologically.
Please read on to learn more why this previously revered manner of physical training is not the best way forward for your child’s athletic future.
Is Your Child Safe?
In Sri Lanka many of athlete students participating in sports in school are approximately 9 – 18 years old. After completing their studies, only a few will continue sports as a profession. During this important growth through adolescence, consistent parental support along with adequate supervision in sports and all physical activity is vital in order to minimize injury and increase productivity in sports.
How many of your kids are playing a single sport? Parents and athletic coaches often make the common mistake of over-focusing on a certain (sports specific) muscle group. However, by continually over-stressing certain muscles often results in unnecessary and repeated injuries over time.
Please note the list below of common mistakes often made by athletic instructors:
- Requiring their athletes to commit to playing a single sport for duration of one year vs. a single seasonal sport, thus enabling different skills and muscle groups to be strengthened over the course of a year rather than stressing only certain muscle groups resulting in muscle strains and injuries.
- Not providing adequate rest in between and during practice sessions and pushing children physically on the same scale as an adult.
- Trying to implement complicated athletic fitness training models to children that are more appropriately utilized for professional adult athletes.
- Ignoring signs of injury and providing adequate rest and recovery time to enable the healing of any injuries, as well as not allowing time for appropriate physical therapy and rehabilitation before allowing the athlete to resume 100% of all prior physical activities.
- Over-representing or misrepresenting an instructor’s professional expertise and abilities without adequate professional fitness credentials and training.
- Not utilizing the complimentary supplemental professional expertise of other respective health, fitness and/or medical experts to best serve the trainee (i.e. not making where needed, appropriate referrals to other professional experts such as an orthopedic doctor, sports psychologist, dietitian, strength and conditioning coach, and/or a physiotherapist, etc.
If you suspect that your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms listed below, please consult with a physician prior to allowing your child to continue any physical activity. Symptoms of over-training & stress during or following sports/physical activities include the following warning signs:
- Pain, swelling redness in any part of the body
- Localized tenderness, loss of function, hemorrhage
- Pale skin
- A state of disorientation, confusion, or an inability to concentrate, anger, and/or depression, as any of these symptoms could be a sign of concussion
- Mild fever, headache, abdominal pain, and/or vomiting
- Moist or sweaty skin
- Body is shivering
- Loss of co-ordination, muscle stiffness
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy, weakness, muscle spasm
- Hunger, double vision
- Nausea, shortness of breath, wheeze, cough
- Making excuses not to attend practice session
Cues for Parents to take action:
- Discuss with your child his/her sports’ interests, and together select 2-3 sports of his/her choosing.
- Try to vary your child’s participation by having him change his/her sports activity every few months.
- Work with your child to select a sports coach or physical trainer with whom he/she would most enjoy working, – and that would keep him/her interested in continuing his/her participation.
- Have your child obtain a health & fitness evaluation by a qualified strength and conditioning coach, in order to incorporate his/her health/medical history, evaluate his/her range of motion, muscle imbalances, cardio-vascular fitness, strength abilities, in conjunction with a possible sports specific assessment to help establish your child’s fitness goals in line with his/her interests.
- As needed, consult with a qualified dietician to enable the best nutrition for future overall fitness and sports specific goals.
- Where appropriate, consult with an appropriate sports medicine doctor and/or physiotherapist to ensure suitable medical guidance either as a result of prior injuries and/or for any sports specific goals.
It is advisable and in the best interest of your child’s immediate and long term physical fitness and well-being to consult with the previously list of fitness, health and/or medical professionals accordingly should any of the prior concerns arise. In this way, in order for your child to minimize his or her risk of injury and unnecessary psychological stress, obtain optimal physical growth and muscle strength, maintain better eating patterns, and achieve quicker recovery from any kind of injury so that his or her selected sports and/or other physical recreational activities continue to be fun, challenging, and competitive in the most positive and beneficial way possible.
Fitness Consultant & Performance Coach
Read more about Ranil Harshana