Training the Developing Brain, Part I: Cognitive Developmental Considerations for Training Youth

Myer, Gregory D. PhD, FACSM, CSCS*D; Kushner, Adam M.; Faigenbaum, Avery D. EdD, FACSM; Kiefer, Adam; Kashikar-Zuck, Susmita; Clark, Joseph F. PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.CSMR.0000434106.12813.69
Extremity and Joint Conditions: Section Articles

Based on the fundamental principles of pediatric exercise science and developmental physiology, childhood provides a critical window to develop the physical readiness of youth through age-related training programs that are designed purposely to teach and reinforce fundamental movement skills to enhance preparedness for physical activity and sport. Successful implementation of developmental programs requires age-related instruction by qualified professionals who understand the physical and psychosocial uniqueness of children and adolescents. An understanding of the interaction of physical and cognitive development is needed to design and implement training strategies that optimize training outcomes. Regular training with structured and integrative modalities throughout the developmental years as part of physical education, recreation, and sports practice can improve athletic performance while reducing common sports-related injuries and can facilitate the adoption of healthy lifestyles throughout adulthood. In this commentary, we outline cognitive developmental considerations in youth that may influence the design and implementation of training programs aimed at optimizing motor skill development in youth.

1Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH; 2Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH; 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH; 4Athletic Training Division, School of Allied Medical Professions, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; 5Department of Health and Exercise Science, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ; 6Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH; and 7Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Address for correspondence: Gregory D. Myer, PhD, FACSM, CSCS*D, Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Ave., MLC 10001, Cincinnati, OH 45229; E-mail: greg.myer@cchmc.org.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Sports Medicine.