Over the summer, Penance Athletics ran a 2 month program for 11-13 year-olds. The purpose was to set up these young, developing athletes with a good foundation, on which to build their athletic future – and I can proudly say that they did accomplish that.
I feel very confident that wherever they choose to do their strength and athletic training in the years to come, they will be many steps ahead of their peers, both physically and mentally.
We tested a few benchmarks at the beginning and end of our summer together, so that we could legitimately show the physical improvements that they made. Broad Jump to test their power, 10 yard Sprint to test their speed, and Push Ups for Upper Body Strength.
But honestly, it’s the improvements that we can not truly test and measure that were more important!
Physically: They learned how to land, decelerate, and change direction. For those that do not know – practically ALL devastating injuries happen on landings and direction changes (think ACL tears!). So teaching a young athlete how to use their brakes effectively before strengthening their gas pedal should just be common sense.
Mentally: The lessons were MANY! Some that were actually verbalized (Constructive Competition vs Destructive Competition – “A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships”) and many that were internal (the need to push through discomfort in order to achieve our goals). This is what they will truly find invaluable over the course of their life, not just their future in athletics – Learning to be a leader on their team, and how to help elevate the efforts of their teammates as well as their own!
For those that would also like to see the improvement numbers:
Broad Jump, or Standing Long Jump: Our group average upon starting was 65” and by the end had increased by 3 inches to 68”. This included a young man who ended with only 2 inches shy of 7 feet!
10-Yard Sprint: Our group average dropped from 1.95 seconds to 1.82 seconds. Shaving over a tenth a second off of an athlete’s 40 time can mean the difference between a full scholarship and a walk-on spot, even more impressive with such a short distance Sprint!
Push Ups: Building stability and strength was definitely a priority and a focus of the time that we had with these athletes so it should not surprise me that this is where the biggest improvement was. Over the course of the summer their Push Up numbers almost tripled, from averaging 3.6 to 9.4 reps in 1 unbroken set. This included a young man who started with 3 and ended with 17! (Side note – these are REAL Push Ups, chest to floor and full lockout).
If you’re ready to see how Penance Athletics can help you or your Student Athletes, email us at Staff@CrossfitPenance.com to set up a No-Sweat Intro.