Thursday, January 22, 2009
Training young kids
The first speaker of the weekend was Vern Gambetta. As far as I'm concerned, he's as good as it gets in terms of perspective toward training young kids. I have heard him speak on a couple occasions and have also read his book, "Athletic Development", which places attention on a patient, developmental approach to working with pre-pubescent children up through high school.
Listening to him always reminds me that sometimes, as trainers, we get into a hurry with our younger athletes and, in doing so, compromise their long-term development. Vern points to the fact that in this day and age kids are experiencing far too many competition days relative to training days. In other words . . . too many games!!! This trend doesn't allow for true athletic development at a young age.
Kids are specializing far too early before they really have a chance to grow into a mature athlete. What happened to allowing these kids to develop universal athletic skills and movements? Kids need to learn discipline but there is often too much structure to their activities . . . and, I've been just as guilty as the next guy. I've caught myself being too routine-oriented with my younger kids and have recently found ways to add some variety to their sessions.
Simply put, if we can first make our young athletes more conscious of their bodies and teach them a variety of movement patterns while placing them in different positions we have laid the foundation for future athletic development.