Training of adolescents. The age at the peak of the growth spurt is the most important marker to organize training during puberty. Yet the concept of deriving age at this peak from a statistical tool (Mirwald, Baxter-Jones, Bailey & Beunen, 2002) is not the leading factor in planning a training program. Instead, this concept is a starting point, which has to be discussed with practioners/trainers/physicians/physiotherapists to validate the outcomes.
Training around the growth spurt
One can distinguish three periods around the growth spurt and which are important in training of adolescents. These phases are irrespective of precocious, average-and late-maturing children.The athletic skills modem focuses on using the phases P1, P2 and P3. This phase model has been used at the Dutch football club AFC Ajax for many years when implementing the principles of the athletic skills model.
The teams U9 to U16 train on a differentiated basis using the peak height velocity determination. The different phases have different training schemes, and this is a good starting point to custom tailor the practice. The full P-phase takes 4 years. Is it possible to educate children without using these three phases? Of course it is, but phasing this crucial stage of a child’s development creates a structure that can be used to arrange the (development-specific) exercises.
3 growth phases
Proponents of the ASM are well aware of the simplification of this phase model and the complexity of human development. However, experiential knowledge has taught that this approach is practical and manageable. The phases are:
- P1 The pre-adolescent period: This period starts a year before the start of the accelerated length growth (the onset).
- P2 The adolescent period:Boys: from the onset to an average of three months after the APHV (= the PWV). So 0.2–0.4 years after the APHV = total of 1.3 years.Girls: from the onset to an average of six months after the APHV (= the PWV). So 0.3–0.9 years after the APHV = total of 1.6 years.
- P3 The post-adolescent period:Boys: from two to four months after the APHV to 1.7 years later.Girls: from three to nine months after the APHV to 1.4 years later.