At The 307 Athlete Academy, we believe young athletes are most effectively developed in the same way our athlete pyramid is structured. The 5 building blocks of our pyramid are, from base to crown, Attitude, Nutrition, Strength, Conditioning, and Sport.
Modern youth athletics have not only flipped the pyramid on its head, they’ve erased parts of it completely. Strength and Conditioning are disregarded almost entirely as an effective means for developing an athlete. Nutrition is either ignored or downright wrong, Sport is the only focus. How many children do you know in youth athletics that are also actively involved in a safe, effective (read not your average PE class) Strength and Conditioning program? The major focus now for kids is Sport, Sport, Sport, run after practice.
If you really want to be terrified, look up the major injury rates (concussion, growth plate fractures, ACL tears etc.) in youth sports. USA Today published an article in 2013 that said 1.35 million youth a year experience serious injuries while playing sports. We at The 307 Athlete Academy believe that this staggering number is due to young athletes not being developed in an appropriate manner so that their bodies can handle the strain of sport. Our mission is to build athletes according to our Athlete Development Pyramid, and give them not only a safer experience within their sport, but give them a chance to be better athletes than they would have ever imagined being otherwise.
The Crown of our Pyramid is Sport, meaning the sport(s) the athlete is playing, sport specific skills, etc. For most young athletes, practicing Sport is the only thing they are doing within this entire pyramid to develop themselves. 307 Athlete Academy coaches think of Sport as the frosting on the cake, the cherry on top. Sport skills are obviously important, but they are NOT the foundation of a great athlete.
Strength and Conditioning are two separate entities that we believe are of equal importance to an athlete. We develop Strength through weight lifting, plyometrics, odd object/strongman tools, sprinting, and more. We use the same tools plus some to Condition our athletes, and produce much greater results than standard school strength and conditioning programs. Our program is more effective than most in preventing injury because we strengthen our athletes in all planes of movement with functional, full range of motion movements to prepare them for the demands of sport.
The most important physical aspect of an athlete’s development, and the most overlooked within modern youth athletics, is Nutrition. You CANNOT out-work a bad diet. Processed, high glycemic carbohydrate foods and garbage sugary sports drinks have invaded sports. Contrary to popular belief, Gatorade is NOT good for you. In fact, recent studies have shown that drinking BEER post workout is healthier than drinking a sugary sports drink. And you can bet your last dollar we won’t be recommending our young athletes drink beer after a workout. The best nutritional recommendation we can make to our young athletes is to eat REAL food. Meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and vegetables. Healthy fat is very important, animal fat, coconut oil, olives, olive oil, and avocados. Starchy vegetables(roots, tubers, bulbs). Some fruit, but not much. Avoid grains, as they can lead to inflammation in the intestines and more serious issues. If a caveman didn’t have access to it, don’t eat it. Young, developing athletes don’t need restriction on amount of food per day, so long as they eat according to these standards.
Everything we have talked about so far leads to the development of an exemplary physical specimen. A kid who has a rock solid nutritional base will fuel their strength and conditioning, in turn making them stronger and faster on the field or the court within their chosen sport(s). An athlete made up of these building blocks has everything physically they need to succeed, but the true marker of GREAT athletes is found deeper, in their Attitude. Integrity, Perseverance, Work Ethic, Loyalty, Communication, Leadership, Humility, Coachability, and Positivity are all traits of an athlete with a great Attitude. The 307 Athlete Academy is full of coaches that embody these traits and want to teach young athletes how to live by them, on and off the field. We want to craft kids into amazing athletes AND extraordinary human beings. And we know that the key to success in sport, and in life, lies in the Attitude.