We had the opportunity to talk with Jason Hurley, Head Coach of Laurentian University’s Women’s Varsity Basketball team, to discuss his perception of the importance of physical fitness in youth athletes through his own personal experiences.
Hurley grew up an athlete, starting his career playing all kinds of sports in his youth. He eventually made his way to playing a university career as a Laurentian Voyageur. Post University, Hurley went on to further pursue his basketball career at a professional level overseas, with the Burger King Limerick. On his return home, Hurley picked up the position of the assistant coach for the Laurentian Men’s Varsity Basketball team and then went on to become the head coach for the women’s team.
Off Court Development
Growing up, off-court training was never a huge factor in Hurley’s athletic career. It was evident that certain muscle groups and skills needed to be developed throughout his youth to become elite. To improve on basketball-related skills, Hurley was involved in other sports to help improve his mobility, vertical, cardio, as well as hand-eye coordination.
Hurley explained that throughout his athletic career, while his passion for basketball became more serious during his university career, so did off court training. Hurley realized that because of the lack of knowledge that people had about physical training, training was most prominent within his professional career. There was an extreme benefit for Hurley from his extra off-court training.
“I definitely peaked when I was playing in Ireland and lifting more weights. I was fitter, my shot was a lot better – it felt perfect every time.”
Youth Athletic Development Today
After everything Hurley has experienced throughout his career, he has found that with all of the new knowledge, technology, and early specialization in sport, off-court training is very important in youth athletes. It should be implemented when an adolescent decides to specialize in a specific sport, in order to equally develop each muscle group to their fullest.
The idea of implementing a program to track the fitness of a team is a very interesting idea to Hurley. Implementing a fitness tracking system within not only his but any sporting program would help increase the overall intensity within practice throughout the entire season. Off-court training would help facilitate the fitness levels of all players on the roster and help attain an equal fitness level throughout each athlete, despite who gets more minutes in on game days.
After speaking with Hurley, it was evident that he believes there are benefits to implementing fitness tracking systems within his own program, as well as throughout different youth programs. Not only will tracking fitness further intensify practices, but it will also enhance the performance in games because of the more aggressive, game-like practices.
Stop guessing, start progressing!