When it comes to building athletes, the biggest mistake I see is the inability for parents and coaches to think long-term about their athlete’s health and success.
To start thinking long term ask yourself, “what’s the end goal for little Johnny?”
- To have fun?
- To be healthy?
- To make the varsity team?
- To get a college scholarship?
- To run faster than Olympian Usain Bolt?
If the goal is a college scholarship, little Johnny doesn’t need to be the greatest peewee quarterback in the state – who the heck keeps those stats anyways – he just needs to be good when it counts, during the last 2 years of high school.
Which means little Johnny doesn’t need to be the strongest or the fastest kid during middle school. He needs to learn to move properly, which will allow for bigger gains in strength and speed when puberty rolls around. Thinking long term means setting your munchkin up for success down the road. So, how do we do that?
Follow these guidelines to keep your young athletes safe, healthy, and set up for long-term success:
- KEEP IT FUN – The more they enjoy it, the more they will want to do it.
- MAKE IT INTO A GAME – Games help kids learn new athletic skills without the monotony of sets and reps.
- LET THEM EXPLORE MOVEMENT AND LEARN ON THEIR OWN – Get them outside and moving around. The more experience they have moving, the greater their athletic potential will be later.
- OFFER VARIETY – Let them play a variety of sports, then narrow it down to two or three in middle school and high school.
- INTRODUCE NEW EXERCISES SLOWLY – Add new exercise or two each week.
- KEEP IT LIGHT – When doing exercise keep the weight light, it allows for proper form and reduces the risk for injury.
- FOCUS ON TECHNIQUE – If they haven’t learned proper technique when they’re younger, during high school or college their coach will have to take 3 steps backwards to take 4 steps forwards.
- MAKE IT AGE APPROPRIATE – Kids respond to exercise differently than adults. There’s no need for little Johnny to be doing the same amount of work, or more work than Andrew Luck.
If you have more questions on this topic, please feel free to email us at [email protected]!