How do I describe my approach to developing young athletes? Truth be told it is not all that different from how I approach working with adults. First I look at where they are try and understand where they want to go. I match up the amount of work and types of exercises that fit them as individuals, even if they are working in a group. I might even pay attention to what they like or find fun and what they dislike;)
Kids under 10 years old have different needs than high school aged athletes and college athletes have different needs than senior competitors. They all need to move well, meaning they need adequate joint mobility, core stability and coordination of fundamental movement patterns. They might develop these habits differently and the amount of work the do will differ as well. I also pay attention to what is happening outside of the gym. Did you just have a singles tennis tournament in Connecticut the last two days? Are you leaving tonight for a hockey tournament in Maine? Do you have soccer practice or baseball tryouts tomorrow? Or for us adults, did we just spend the weekend in the car driving our kids from competition to competition or match to match and our backs’ are stiff? Programs should meet the athlete where they are at, not where a chart says they should be.
When you come in moving well and feeling 100%,with a clear practice or match schedule for the next 48 hours and you have logged a series of strong workouts over the last week and a half, you will be pushed. You will be challenged, You will get better. If you are dragging a bit, run down, sore or have missed a few workouts lately, your program will be adjusted. You will leave feeling better than when you came in. You will get better. You will not be beaten down to come back feeling worse next session or at your next practice or game. Our muscles, heart, lungs, nervous system, hormonal system and our entire body is a sensitive responsive organism. I work collaboratively with you to figure out when to hit it hard and when to reset your body with a recovery workout.
I hope to have that chance to work with you or your young athlete(s).
For another perspective, we draw some of our programming from the same Long Term Athlete Development model utilized by USA Hockey.
- Stage 1: Active Start (0-6 years)
- Stage 2: FUNdamental (girls 6-8, boys 6-9)
- Stage 3: Learn to Train (girls 8-11, boys 9-12)
- Stage 4: Train to Train (girls 11-15, boys 12-16)
- Stage 5: Train to Compete (girls 15-21, boys 16-23)
- Stage 6: Train to Win (girls 18+, boys 19+)
- Stage 7: Active for Life (any age participant)