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Peak height velocity (PHV) - a crucial time for junior athletes.

PHV is a term used to describe the period of time that a junior athlete experiences a major growth spurt. Get your gym /sport training right during this period and you can capitalise on the hormonal surge to achieve outstanding performance gains. Get it wrong and you can overtrain a rapidly changing and potentially ‘unstable’ structure leading to breakdown and time away from sports, or worse.

With the rapid rate of growth comes an initial loss of coordination and body awareness and control. This lack of foundation stability can lead to uncontrolled movement and injury. Many coaches are not even aware that PHV is a key development phase for junior athletes which requires specific input to keep the athlete training safely.

What changes?

The onset of PHV (growth spurt) is typically interpreted as the onset of puberty (Granados et al, 2015). During this time of rapid growth, physical and athletic performance can be improved through a number of changes that accompany the rapid increase in physical size, such as physiological changes (hormones, enzymes etc.), energy metabolism, and development of the muscles and bones (Myer et al., 2011).

Overtraining Injury

With the loss of control of stability in limbs and trunk, increased sports training demands can easily lead to injury unless the instability is corrected.

PHV monitoring

The simplest way to monitor for your young person entering PHV is to plot their height every month on a wall chart (in our house a doorframe) and look for the sudden growth spurt in height. For both boys and girls PHV can fall anywhere between 12-16 years of age. The size and timing of the growth can vary a great deal between individuals.

Check out our Swim Homework page for monthly home programmes for competitive swimmers that are designed specifically to provide safe and appropriate Land Training.

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