There is a ton of useful information out there about training youngsters these days. If you want to improve performance at the youth level you don’t have to search too hard. Coaches, teachers and parents can use peer reviewed journals, specialist books and even social media to access great information. Armed with knowledge bombs all you need is a sports minded child! It’s not that simple in reality though. We share some of the lessons we’ve learnt when it comes youth conditioning and delivering it to the masses.
1 to 1 youth fitness coaching is easy by comparison to group youth fitness
NK Fitness are proud to work with a number of high performance junior athletes. These athletes work with us on a one to one basis to develop their physical readiness for the respective sports. They have typically been identified as high performers by their sports and are involved in a variety of performance programmes. These athletes have extremely proactive parents. After all, it’s their parents that source us and pay the fees! Young athletes at this level understand the need for specialist input in an attempt to further competitive performance. As a result they engage fully and we get complete ‘buy in’ from them. Achieving compliance from these young high performers is therefore relatively easy. The coaching challenge presented by this group revolves around managing expectations and the ‘art’ of getting the programme almost right. (I say ‘almost right’ because who knows if they ever get something completely right?).
By comparison we also coach youth group fitness to a range of talented youngsters in Berkshire and at Charters Specialist Sports College. Obviously coaching groups of young athletes presents different challenges. Programmes tend to be more general to the needs of the group, or groups within the class, as opposed to highly individualised. Athletes present from a range of sports and at a range of performance levels. All are considered ‘ sporty’ for their age, some are high performers in their sport whereas others are simply keen to improve their youth conditioning and fitness. It’s easy to allow these sessions to become very coach led. The challenge is ensuring that all athletes, with their varying abilities and experiences, progress at a suitable rate.
Delivering successful youth group fitness
Coaching youth group fitness offers different dynamics for coaching. In our experience of coaching youth group fitness to sporty children and those beneath the elite level, fun is everything. Learning specific techniques to move more effectively or overcome resistance is well received. However, sessions that contain only drills can become stale. The richest learning experiences we have provided young athletes is when we introduce challenges, problem solving a games. The opportunity to experiment and compete creates by far the most powerful youth coaching environment.