Tips for Teens and pre-Teens. The Kind You Don’t See in Running Magazines!

Tips for Teens and pre-Teens. The Kind You Don’t See in Running Magazines!

Throughout the track season coaches Brant Stachel & Steve Weiler will publish a weekly series of youth training tips for coaches, parents, & runners designed to set athletes up for a lifetime of activity.

Week #1
Encourage Multi-Activity and Multi-Sport – Part 1
When coaching high schoolers, be flexible and supportive of athletes’ other interests, be it sport, music, academic, etc. Don’t make practices so frequent that they cannot participate in any other activities during ‘your’ season.

Week #2
Encourage Multi-Activity/Multi-Sport Part 2 - Elementary school:
1) include large breaks between seasons; 2) limit frequency of training & racing so kids can participate in other activities in-season; 3) discuss involvement in other activities with both the kids & their parents

Week #3
Athletes, no matter how talented, are still in a pathway of development. As a coach, always look at where they are coming from sporting wise and where they are going.
There should always be something more that can be added in training as they age/develop. Don't get stuck in the trap of exhausting all training modalities to have age group success at the risk of long term development.

Week #4
Treat kids like kids, not ‘little elites’. Avoid sending mixed messages that add pressure to specialize or expectation to excel in a single event/sport. Young athletes are still learning what they enjoy in sport; current preferences often change as they mature.

Week #5
More Isn’t Necessarily Better Part 1: Training Frequency
As a coach, be sure to consider why you offer as many workouts as you do: is it to better serve the athletes current needs? To justify your membership fees?
’Training’ for young athletes can and should include both structured and unstructured play – not everything needs to be  controlled by an adult.  Limiting workout frequency allows room to grow through other activities, including unstructured play.

Week #6
More Isn’t Necessarily Better Part 2: Racing frequency
Young athletes should race less frequently and become proficient at the process and learning to love it. This can be accomplished by racing regionally in smaller races more often than big championships and seeking out fun learning opportunities in races.

Week #7
Include Game Play!
When coaching pre-teens, be sure to include game play, which can include both physical and social elements. For example, include a Name Game at the first session after a long break to help everyone get to know each other.

Week #8
Mix It Up!
Encourage early teens and pre-teens to try a variety of events over the course of the outdoor track season; avoid specializing in a single event until your late teens or even later.

Week #9
Final tip - HAVE FUN!
It’s important that athletes (of ALL ages) enjoy the process and not just the outcome. HAVE FUN on your Endurance Odyssey!

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