February 14, 2018 By BridgeAthletic

The Importance of Early Athletic Development


To compete at the highest level in any sport, young athletes must focus on the early development of an athletic foundation that will give them the tools they need to train efficiently and safely. By starting this athletic development at an early age, the athletes develop a sport-focused foundation that gives them an advantage in overcoming the physical challenges of sports training. To clarify, the goal of early development is a focus on simple movements and exercises to develop fundamental movement skills and overall motor skills including agility, balance, and coordination. These skills will be used to not only build into more complex exercises and movements, but also assists athletes in moving skillfully and developing posture and balance.

 Physical Foundation:


The development of an early physical foundation enables athletes to better advance and excel in their respective sports. Learning how to move your body efficiently and in a controlled manner is one of the most basic developmental goals of athletic training. By developing body control and efficiency, athletes will be able to use their body more efficiently. By teaching a young athlete how to properly squat, it aids in developing jumping power and landing techniques that can be used on the field, court, and pool. This development allows athletes to more efficiently generate speed, agility, and power at an early age which provides athletes with an athletic advantage over their competitive peers.

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Advancing Your Athletes:



The athlete will also be able to build upon the skills learned as they progress into harder training. Proper advanced strength training places an emphasis on performing movements with proper form and technique to efficiently generate strength and power as well as to prevent possible injuries.

Movements to begin training: 

• Frog Squat -  This exercise develops proper squat form and builds into more advanced exercises such as mb squats, db squats and back squats.

• Seated Band Row - This exercise develops proper rowing form and builds into more advanced exercises such as TRX row, supine row and barbell row.

• Incline Pushup - This exercise develops proper pushup form and builds into more advanced exercises such as pushups, db bench press and barbell bench press.

Movements to advance to: 

• MB Squat - DB Squat - Barbell Back Squats

• Supine Row - Supine Row - Barbell Bent-Over Row

• Pushup - DB Bench Press - Barbell Bench Press


By starting athletic development early, athletes have a much better understanding and execution of basic movements that build into the more complex exercises. An athlete should be able to complete a proper bodyweight squat before moving into a DB squat and eventually a Barbell Back Squat. Athletes who develop these skills earlier will have the edge over their competition and compete at a more advanced level more quickly.  



Athletes who wish to compete at the highest level need to take every advantage they can to push themselves above the competition. Utilizing Bridge’s Athletic Development Programs, young athletes will progress through basic movements such as body weight squats that develop the early skills and form necessary to progress into more complex movements like a back squat. Starting with body weight squats  and progressing into more complex movements: split squats, goblet squats, then medicine ball squats. Athletes will build overall athleticism while also minimizing injuries through effective form development. Young athletes learn and refine the basic skills needed to train effectively and can build into more difficult exercises, while those that begin later need to develop these skills before being able to progress into more complex exercises. Starting an athlete’s development at an early stage gives them a significant head start over competitors who build these skills later in their sport, and that head start is exactly the advantage that what will make the difference on the podium.


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About the Author


At Bridge, we are all athletes and coaches first. As athletes, our team has experienced everything from riding the pine on JV, to winning NCAA championships, to competing in the Olympic Games. As coaches, we have helped countless athletes reach their full potential, winning everything from age group section championships to Olympic Gold Medals.

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