With the Christmas break looming, the long summer holiday is a great time for the young athletes to freshen up – but that doesn't mean lounging around, overdoing the Christmas cake and summer parties.
Far from it, the summer months are where it all happens. The hard work when no one is watching, the preparation setting the base for a great peak in the middle of the year for those playing the winter codes.
Many high school emerging athletes are about to go on summer break, for some it will mean a great time to freshen up mentally, get outdoors for some training variety while on holiday, but still get some good quality base strength and aerobic work ticked off.
For others it will mean little or no training for a couple of months, and for others they will have already stopped a couple of months back and will go over half the year without doing much physical development at all.
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That's absolutely great for those that play for the pure social aspect, but if the keen sportsperson has serious aspirations, then summer training is where it's at, you can't just turn up a week before season and expect to perform – those who do the mahi, get the treats!
For some who have already stopped training months ago, they've done so because of a common message senior students receive from their well-meaning teachers.
Often the message they get at the end of Term 3 is it's now time to focus on their exams. Obviously exams take priority, but a couple of training sessions a week can easily be scheduled in, and can do a hell of a lot for mental freshness and therefore more effective study time and better exam results.
It can be a pretty stressful time in a young person's life, so aside from the physical gains, the training is great for mental wellbeing, keeping life balance, and not putting too much pressure on the academic side of things. For those that aren't into sport and fitness at all, they need to get their life balance through their own ways – music, art, part-time work, whatever works.
Some school 'academies' end up only really operating during the winter months of terms 2 and 3, which is only five months of the year, and isn't the ideal scenario for a budding athlete.
Term 1 can be a frantic time, with all the staff and students settling into the routines of another year, and so setting up the student athletes training can get put to one side.
Term 4 it's exam time and the kids are away. So before you know it, half the year has raced by, and the opportunity for the year's off-season development is gone.
The schools need help. Teachers are super busy, and it can't be assumed the teacher in charge has the time to fully commit, and/or the time to be up to date with the latest youth athlete research and systems.
With exams over, it's a great time to set some goals and action a plan over the summer months, so fun can be had when the winter sport season rolls around. It's much more fun being able to give it all you got and perform at your best.
A great start for youth is to get off those devices over summertime, health is the foundation for sport performance, so go device free, get outdoors on the beaches and in the forest for fitness variety, and keep up the strength and keep it fun.
And ah yes, those devices, we will fight them on the beaches, in the sports grounds and fields, and in the hills; we will never surrender.
Marcus Agnew is the health and sport development manager at Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust and a lecturer in sports science at EIT.