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

4Athletic Training Division, School of Allied Medical Professions, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Current Sports Medicine Reports (Impact Factor: 1.55). 09/2013; 12(5):304-310. DOI: 10.1097/01.CSMR.0000434106.12813.69
Source: PubMed


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.

Download full-text


Available from: Adam W. Kiefer
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Physical exercise and other activity-promoting behaviors, including sports, hold incalculable benefits for children and adolescents besides physical and psychological health and quality of life. A multitude factors contribute to increased brain and functional integrity and optimal development through exercise. Concurrently, a vast range of situations and techniques have demonstrated the marked cognitive, emotional] and neuroimmunological functioning manifestations. Unsurprisingly, the influence of physical exercise upon school and academic performance is an issue of some magnitude.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Biological maturation is associated with significant change to a number of physiological and structural processes throughout childhood and, in particular, adolescence. Mismatched rapid growth in the long bones relative to muscular lengthening may disrupt structure, neuromuscular function, and physical performance. Practitioners who work with school-age youth should be aware of the age-related changes that typically take place during a child's development to ensure that their strength and conditioning programming is as safe and effective as possible for enhancing performance and reducing injury risk. While there are several methods available to assess biological maturation, practitioners who work with youth can benefit from assessment methods that are available and feasible, and that provide utility in the quantification of the degree and stages of biological maturation that affect motor performance in children and adolescents. This manuscript synthesizes the relevant assessment methods, and provides a rationale for understanding usable biological maturation assessment tools that can aid in the development of training program design for youth.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: EEG differences were examined between part and whole practice in the learning of a novel motor task. Recording was done at 4 sites (i.e., O1, O2, C3, and C4) on 30 participants who performed a novel mirror star tracer task. Individuals were randomly assigned to 3 groups: whole practice, part practice, and control (no practice). Whole practice is defined as practicing a skill in its entirety. Part practice is defined as practicing separate, independent parts of the skill, and gradually combining those parts with parts that are dependent on one another. Each group was assessed during a pretest and posttest. EEG data was analyzed using a 2×2×2×3 (trials×hemisphere×site×practice) repeated measures mixed model ANOVA for each of the wave bands (lower alpha, upper alpha, lower beta, upper beta). All participants performed the task faster as no practice effect was found across the three groups; however the part practice group exhibited a significant decrease in errors. Reduced activation in the occipital and central sites was observed for lower alpha in the posttest compared to the pretest, for all participants. Hemispheric differences were present for all wavebands, with greater activation in the left hemisphere independent of practice type. The results of our study indicate that task learning was likely associated with the observed changes in the lower alpha waveband. Further, a concomitant behavior between the hemispheric lateralization of alpha and beta waveforms was observed. These results have implications for athlete training and rehabilitation. They indicate the utility of EEG for learning assessment in athletes. They also indicate learning strategies with a partial movement focus may be a beneficial strategy to support the development of complex sport skills training and rehabilitation strategies focused on reacquisition of skills prior to sport reintegration.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014
Show more