Training young athletes… It seems that everybody dabbles in this market
Whether the fitness or sport training professional is a Physical Therapist by trade, Personal Trainer to the average adult clientele or Strength Coach to elite sporting stars, when stating their bios and areas or expertise, it seems that the sentence always ends with ‘I am Training Young Athletes, too‘.
And why not, right?
Training young athletes is the fastest growing niche within the entire fitness industry.
It’s worth over $4 billion a year in the United States alone and more than 1 million children, youths and teens hired a Personal Trainer in 2007 – a large number for the purpose of enhancing sport performance.
But that term, ‘enhancing sport performance’ is something that doesn’t really belong in the vernacular of the youth sports training world. At least not in the way we currently use it.
At the risk of sounding acrimonious, let me ask you this question.
How much do you really know about human growth, development and the necessary components of training clients in the pediatric and formative years?
Young Athletes In Sports
Sometimes, it feels good to be validated that you’re right.
And that’s what happened to me yesterday.
I conducted an interview with a Youth Sports Psychologist
named Dr. Darrell Burnett for a project I’ve been working on.
Darrell and I first met on a DVD shoot back in 2003.
We were both asked to appear as ‘experts’ in a information
documentary based on youth sports called ‘Operation TLC’.
I was unbelievably impressed with Darrell’s stunning insight
into human emotion, behavior and consequence as well as the
role self-esteem plays in terms of the choices and decisions
we make for ourselves.
I was so impressed, that I still stay in contact with him and
frequently ask him questions related to topics surrounding
coaching, motivation and Coach/Athlete relationship.
We spoke yesterday at length about these exact topics.
Here’s what Darrell’s thoughts were related to training
young athletes –
- We spend far too much time on worrying about the
‘end result’ and not near enough time on considering
the ‘process’. It’s not where we’re going that matters as
much as how far we’ve come along the path. Knowing
the end point or result is critical, but being proud and
satisfied with how far we’ve progressed towards that
result is what must be on our heads daily.
- The formative years are key for absolutely everything,
from sports to music and academics. What we are exposed
to young is the number one factor in determining how
successful we become later in life. But this isn’t restricted
to ‘physical’ stimulus, the emotional support and validation
we receive early in life plays a significant role on our self-
esteem and self-worth – so much so that dysfunctional adult
syndromes such as codefendant can result if we aren’t
taught that "winning and losing are both okay but don’t
define who you are"
- No matter how ‘great’ the young athletes in our care are,
we must always strive to downplay their athletic ‘greatness’
and focus on treating them like a person first and athlete
second. ‘Brand identifying’ a young person as an ‘athlete’,
‘obese’ or ‘book worm’ lends to much credence to them
feeling as though that’s what they must always live up to.
They are valuable kids first and foremost, who just happen
to excel in sports – nothing more.
Not only is it amazing for me to constantly learn from great
professionals like Dr. Burnett, but it’s also so validating to
see that what I teach through the IYCA in terms of ‘The Art
of Coaching’ lines up so perfectly with what he has to say.
Re-read those lessons from Dr. Burnett and be sure that
you’re treating your young athletes the way he knows is right.
You can never stop learning.
‘TIll next time,
P.S. – Gaining insight from great professionals like Dr. Darrell
Burnett is a necessity in terms of becoming the most successful
professional you can be. Have a look inside my head and
understand how and why I produce the most successful training
programs for youths in the world today.
Visit http://www.iyca.org/course/programdesign and learn
the tremendous insight that will make you a better young athletes Coach or