Which LVHN Sports Academy Program is Right for You?
Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) Sports Academy offers young athletes, ages 8 to 18, programs to build foundational fitness, hone sports-specific skills and learn injury prevention techniques.
“Our programs are appropriate for all youth who would benefit from sports training, including kids who aren’t particularly athletic,” says Daniel Knappenberger, sports performance specialist with LVHN Sports Academy.
The programs, which are organized by age level, are offered in small group classes, allowing staff to provide individualized attention while giving participants opportunities for fun and friendly competition. Knappenberger notes that all programs are evidence-based and draw on the latest performance and injury prevention research.
“No matter the age or training level, we’re able to help youth athletes develop and progress,” says sports performance specialist Richard Vance.
Foundational Program (Ages 8-11):
Foundational Program consists of 60-minute training sessions that are designed as “structured play.” This program teaches kids proper techniques for a variety of athletic activities while helping to improve coordination, balance, and strength.
“Our foundation group starts as young as 8 years old that focuses on developing proper form and training techniques for all sports. The goal is to create a positive and fun environment that will both challenge and teach the correct way to train as an athlete. Once our performance coaches believe the athletes are ready to move into the next level of training, they will enter our accelerated class that will become more sport-specific,” says senior sports performance specialist Ryan Fatzinger.
Accelerated Program (Ages 12-14):
Accelerated Program consists of 60 minutes of strength training followed by 60 minutes of speed work. This program continues to develop a foundation of fundamental strength and motor control as it builds speed and multidirectional movement skills.
“In this program, the training becomes more sports-specific,” Vance says. Classes may incorporate plyometrics, free weights, and core exercises. Participants continue to work in small group settings while receiving individualized attention.
Elite Program (Ages 15-18):
Elite Program consists of back-to-back 60-minute strength training and 60-minute speed sessions that allow athletes to develop maximum strength and power while fine-tuning all aspects of speed, specific movement skills, and agility.
This program is especially useful for athletes who specialize in a particular sport but still require help with fundamentals; for example, a soccer player needs to adjust their running mechanics.
High Tech Tools Help Evaluate Athletes
- Zephyr™ BIoharness: helps gauge exercise intensity and duration by providing physiological and biometric feedback.
- Dartfish® High-Speed Motion Analysis: evaluates performance movements to better identify performance deficiencies.
- Multisport Simulator: helps athletes build fitness and confidence.
All team members are certified strength and conditioning coaches. Each staff member also has completed specialized training in areas including kinesiology, physical therapy, group fitness, sports psychology, sports performance, and sports management.
“We’ve seen many successes among program participants, including younger kids who were struggling to keep up with their fitness in the off-season who are now able to jump right back in when their season starts, to older kids who tell us that they no longer rush through speed and strength work because they’re seeing tangible results on the field,” Knappenberger says.
Outreach & Collaboration
Vance notes that the Sports Academy is known throughout the region for its work with high school and collegiate teams.
“We’ve hosted clinics and outreach events and worked with many local coaches,” he says. “We also collaborate with athletic trainers to work with previously injured athletes who have completed rehabilitation and been cleared to play. We help these athletes rebuild their foundation and return to play.”
The Sports Academy’s Breinigsville facility also offers field rentals, including two turf fields, a batting cage with a pitching machine and portable pitching mound, and a lounge area that can be rented for parties or team-building events.
There are Sports Medicine services available to you in every region. Go to LVHN.org/sportsmed to learn more and find a location near you.