Developing better athletes and healthy kids has been a subject I’ve been studying for a while now. Long term athletic development is something that I want to do really well. Because, unfortunately many don’t understand what kids need or realize just how important it is. The ironic thing is – typically at the period in life when kids need the best coaching, they tend to get some of the worst.
Kids are not mini adults. Because they’re going through growth spurts they require training that looks almost nothing like what adults do in a gym. Kids have sensitive periods in development where either they have potential to maximize future performance through training or the potential to become less coordinated if they choose to sit on their butts.
I came across a recent report that found that children spend 9 HOURS ON THEIR PHONES, VIDEO GAMES, TV, MOVIES each day! Holy cow, even if it’s half of that, that’s a staggering number. This isn’t good for their health, learning potential and it sure isn’t good for their athletic performance.
Kids need to be challenged by mastering many different skills like jumping, spinning, reaction time, coordination, rhythm and perception just like in the above video.
There’s a reason that kids love those rides at a fair that spin in circles and those same rides make us grown ups sick. It develops their Vestibular Systems which is a major part of balance. Vestibular Systems are typically fully developed by puberty. Let your kids spin as much as they would like! In this drill we combine the spinning and a coordination skills like tracking and basic hand eye coordination.
Beams are an awesome way for kids to practice their balance. I combine several different exercises with the balance beam to teach them good movement. In this drill kids work a Lunge pattern while tracking the ball (turning your head in a Lunge is difficult), catching and throwing to a target. It’s fun and gives them and me immediate feedback on their performance.
Traditional Planks are pretty boring for kids. Challenge a kid to put their feet up on a wall and hold themselves is a much better exercise for many kids. Here Mitch works on core and also shoulder stability.
And we encourage guided play and displays of athletic abilities with obstacle courses!