Adults vs Kids – What Say You?


I made a very strong point in yesterday’s ‘Part 4’ article…


I don’t think John Izzo is wrong.


Smart, quality, passionate and forward thinking Coaches will always believe the demographic they work in to be more challenging than any other one.


It’s because they are always striving to learn more, discover more and create more.


And I have nothing but respect for that.


But now, it’s your turn…


Adults vs Kids – What Say You?


– Brian



11 Responses

  1. Dustin says:

    Adults are more difficult to work with because they have in their head what is right. What is exercise. And will not sway from it. Working the past six years as a fitness consultant for a Bariatric surgery facility it is amazing how many of them believe I have no clue about exercise. Granted I have been in the industry for 13 years and a competive strength athlete for the same amount of time they still feel they know more. Cleaning the house is exercise and cardio is walking in the store!
    I have trained numerous youth athletes and find them more rewarding and more open to suggestion. They admire what I do and are willing to push themselves to the edge.
    If I was to chose I would say that adults are more jaded by what they believe to be right and the youth are more open minded to suggestion. As long as they see results.

  2. Henrik says:

    Very interesting “debate”, although for me it’s a no-brainer that comparing youth to adults is impossible – just like Brian says, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. I work with both populations myself and as far as I’m concerned the main deciding factor who’s harder vs. who’s easier to train ultimately comes down to the personality, skills, preference and ability of the trainer/coach – not the individual or demographic group…Again, thanks for the great post – although this isn’t a scientific journal I’d love to see some references to the stats and facts. That would be very useful!

  3. Mark says:

    Adults want results now our time here is limited and if the fundamentals of sport or fitness are not there it is harder to keep them calm and build on patience. Youth in a way know it takes time though they want success now they also know and see that it takes work and time to excel. I train both and it is easier to build fundamentals then achieve quick success.

  4. Dan says:

    Changing behavior in adults is obviously more challenging because kids, in most cases, are willing to try things and have not already developed hard core negative attitudes. I think it comes down to the difference between molding (with kids) and directing (with adults). A successful NFL coach would likely be a disaster as a youth football coach, and vice versa.

  5. Cory says:

    Training is difficult, regardless of which population you might specialize in. Trainers who work with the “general population” (GP) might think coaches working with Olympic athletes have an easier time. They’re strong, capable and they understand the importance of training are some of the arguments I hear.

    However, athletes competing at high levels require more diligent monitoring (which I guess is cool if you have the technology), have 3-6 specialists working with them (which is good and bad, more eyes vs. too many cooks) and may have some maladaptations that got them where they are and might be resistant to regressions in certain areas.

    The “elite athlete” trainer might think GP trainers have it easy because they don’t have the stress of helping produce a world-class performance. They may not be taking into account all the points Mr. Izzo made about why its tough training adults.

    Both of these groups have valid points but the fact remains that the grass is always greener on the other side. The population doesn’t matter as long as the passion for training with them exists.

  6. Kathy says:

    I have been coaching both adults and kids, in X-Country skiing for over 15 years now. I always marvel at the differences between them.
    Kids have very little fear, and are willing to try anything- but are hard to get to listen and follow instruction.
    Most Adults on the other hand, have all kinds of fear, from physical in terms of falling and mental in terms of “looking bad” in front of their peers- but they are very content to line up and listen to instruction.
    Unfortunately for the adults, what takes kids one season to perfect- takes adults many years! Is it all about fear levels? Or do adults spend too much time thinking and analyzing, and not enough time simply doing?

  7. Dr. Haley says:

    it is difficult to categorize athletes 12-24 as one unit and everyone older as another. Although the reasons listed are valid and well explained, in my opinion, they do not distinguish between adults and kids, but rather identify features that have the potential to challenge the training process or facilitate it – no matter who you coach.

    When coaches take the time to a) learn effective coaching techniques and b) understand their individual athlete, they can train anyone.

  8. Mike says:

    The greatest challenge will be the one you bestow upon yourself. Naturally, by following your passion, you will find your greatest challenges.

    We will all dig deeper and try harder when the reward justifies the struggle. For some, that reward will be getting sedentary adults to change their lives. Others will find that justification in pushing athletes beyond their perceived potential, and still others will get that satisfaction from giving children a strong foundation for the rest of their lives.

    I can’t be bothered to get a grown up off the couch. That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the challenge, and I would never make training a pissing match. Do what you love, give it everything you have, and you will never lack challenge.

  9. Aaron says:

    I agree with Cory, training is difficult.
    In my years of personal training and coaching(17 years). I have worked in the General population, with Special Olympics (Canada), rehab, highschool and college athletes and club track and field (6-18)

    Each area has its own challenges.
    Both adults and kids in my opinion are difficult
    each one has their own problems.

    I have gone through and read the whole blog and I do agree with Brian, considering majority of my clients are teenagers, but I am training a 73 year old man right now and I just finished with a 45 year old hockey player neither one of which I would say was difficult in the least.

    But going with my experience I will say that both have their baggage that comes with them and we as trainers and coaches must learn how to deal with each one or group.
    I don’t know how this will read to some trainers and coaches but after all these years of training this is what you have to do to stay in this business especially if you are passionate about it.

  10. Dr. Kwame M. Brown says:

    I am seeing in the comments section a lot of blanket statements about “kids”. Which kids, is my question. Certainly all children are not the same. Has anyone read the Level I manual? There alone, we identified 4 basic types of “training personality” among children. You can’t tell me that these are all equal in difficulty and level of planning.

    In my opinion, this whole debate (and I think this is why BG started it) is a bit of a red herring. Sure, there are some commonalities among children and among adults, as well as among humans period. But each person is an individual.

    I have worked throughout the lifespan, with toddlers, children, teens, adults, and seniors. And in pretty much all walks of life.

    All I can tell you is that I take each person and each group on a case by case basis.

    Its not to say that I don’t think debates like this are useful. They are. The comments above elucidate a number of issues that one may encounter in the process of teaching / training / discovery. It helps to build awareness of these issues. But beware the dogmatic statement. This is when we are fooled by what we expect to see.

  11. Alexander/Cph/Denmark says:

    Best of greets everyone.

    In regards to the question Adults vs. Youth the first thing that comes to my mind is 2 different groups!!!

    Secondly, within each group I would not think right or wrong BUT what is safe and efficient for the individual according to particular needs and goals.

    Which is tougher to teach?
    Hmmm….. Be in your own river! Do it with passion and things will be an educational game personal growth.

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