By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Athletic training continues to get more sophisticated and more specialized.

That is why the Mayo Clinic Center in downtown Minneapolis held a clinic Monday to bring in experts to talk to high school kids about what it really means to be a “healthy” athlete in a variety of ways.

The hottest topics in high school sports are changing. The athletes of today are getting more information on the total being, meaning nutrition, athleticism and over-specialization.

“I played tennis, and I played basketball, ran track,” Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen said. “In basketball, I was one of the better players on the team, but in tennis and track I wasn’t, so you had to try to find a role on the team to be successful.”

Whalen and others were working with the teens on how to alleviate the fear of performance.

“The number one thing is awareness,” said Dr. Justin Anderson, a licensed sports psychologist. “I mean, I think a lot of people don’t understand what are the triggers to their stressers. How do they manage the stress, how do they deal with it — and there’s a lot of stress out there.”

What these kids want to know is how to get better — now. What they are being told is take care of your mind and your body.

“What I want them to take away from is the value of a strong foundation and a solid base of movement skills,” said Ben Maronde, an XOS exercise manager. “I think far too often we have athletes these days who come through and they get the sports-specific skills pushed on them at an early age.”

And that is the partnership the Mayo Clinic wants to extend through the Timberwolves; a place where they are increasing awareness by increasing education, and creating a healthy lifestyle that they can use for the rest of their lives.

“Let’s use diabetes as an example,” said Richard Larson of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine. “Why don’t we prevent diabetes instead of treating it and diagnosing it? And so Mayo Clinic, really with this center, it’s about performance and medical care coming together.”

Mike Max

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