Jack, I would *always* argue for adapting teaching methods to the physical
maturity of the student. My area is alpine ski and snowboard instruction.
The Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) advocates use of a CAP
model, a relatively common model in which the Cognitive, Affective, and
Physical characteristics of the student are considered when formulating a
lesson plan.

Physical aspects are especially important to understand when doing movement
analysis. As you mentioned in your posting, there is a lot of
misunderstanding of what the pros do on TV; it's the same in skiing as in
tennis. If we tried to teach skiers (either kids or adults) to make turns
like Olympic and World-Cup champion Hermann Maier, we would be setting them
up for injury! There is simply no way a typical skier could withstand the
forces generated by Maier's technique. More typically, instructors modify
their teaching based on the client's general fitness. Normally sedentary
individuals (such as most white-collar professionals) are presented with
learning situations that are less strenuous than situations created for
more active clients. Note that the latter group would likely include young
adults, while younger children would probably fall into a very active --
but less physically demanding -- group.

The relationship of lower back injury to abdominal and leg muscle strengths
would be interesting to consider from a snowsport perspective as well.
However, I would suggest that the issue not be considered so much
maturational as fitness-related. Perhaps that would broaden the scope of
available research as well?

Best regards,
-- Jeff
Does anyone know of any studies of injuries of the lower back and its
relationship to abdominal and leg muscle strength due to physical maturity?
The idea is to determine if teaching methods should adapt to the physical
maturity of the student. For example: The tennis serve in high level
involve a lot back flexion and extension, and given the lack of strength in
the abdominal area, this could lead to lower back injury (lumbar lordosis).
There is a tendency for juniors to flex the back for the uncoiling motion,
instead of using leg flexion and extension (and avoid hyperextension of the
back). A lot of this flawed technique is due to misinterpretation of what
seen on TV by your everyday tennis instructor.

Jack Sujovolsky, MS., USPTA

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