A great article from World-Renowned Strength Coach Charles Poliquin on some of the Benefits of Strength Training for Young Athletes.
Develop strength in your upper and lower body and you will be able to jump higher and throw with more force on the field or court. Research shows strength training will significantly increase vertical jump and throwing force in youth and adults. In-season training is just as important as out-of-season lifting if you want to perform at your best and not lose strength and power. A new study supports previous evidence that building strength leads to better and faster sport-specific movements, and it shows that training is safe and effective for young athletes as well.
The study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that a moderate-load strength training program twice a week for ten weeks increases vertical jump height and medicine ball throw performance in teenage male basketball players. The study used a training group and a control group and participants continued attending basketball practice three times a week and playing weekly games. The training program did not include plyometrics or other explosive exercises, but because it improved strength and neuromuscular ability, it did result in better explosive performance. The training program included six machine-based lifts (decline press, leg press, lat pull down, leg extension, pullover, and leg curl), and participants performed three sets of ten reps at a 10RM weight.
Participants in the training group significantly increased vertical jump height, squat jump height, and medicine ball throw ability, whereas the control group decreased performance in all tested measurements by the end of the study period. Researchers suggest the control group decreased performance either because they became less conditioned and more fatigued from their basketball participation, or due to lack of motivation in the follow up tests. Basketball practice alone, even if it includes lots of jumping and throwing, is not enough to improve explosive strength or increase vertical jump. Coaches need to be aware that just performing jumping exercises or other sports- specific practice alone won’t make their athletes jump higher or perform better—a common misperception that may lead coaches to avoid strength training programs in-season.