No matter what age, athletes love games. If you really want your young athletes to enjoy your sessions, then you need to implement some sort of game play into each program.
Games come in different forms, from old-school games like tug-of-war to games that your own athletes co-create, they all play a role in the “fun factor” and “success factor” of your sessions.
We all want successful sessions that our athletes continue to WANT to come back to…right?
3 Benefits of Game Play
Note: Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the page, as Guest and Resistance Band Expert, Dave Schmitz provided us with an awesome example of games to play with bands.
Game Play Benefit #1:
FUN! Life is way too serious for most athletes—even some of the youngest take their sports to the extreme. A reminder that sports and training should have a “fun factor” is very important for youth.
Implementing 5 minutes of fun into your sessions will increase those “feel good” chemicals and lead to more productive, happy athletes.
Game Play Benefit #2:
COMPETITION! No matter the game, adding a bit of competition simulates what athletes may face in their sport of choice…or in life.
When training becomes competitive, athletes are able to reach a different level of performance, similar to real life game-day situations.
Pro Tip: Create games that encourage performance and reward effort.
Game Play Benefit #3:
IT ISN’T WORK! Let’s face it, training is hard work and occasionally met with resistance. Have you ever met a kid who would rather do sets of squats than play a game? Well, there is always one…but the majority don’t look at games as “work”.
Pro Tip: Games eliminate the “thinking component” of training. They allow athletes to think less and act more. When performance becomes instinctive…the real goals are achieved.
Check out these Resistance Band Games from Dave Schmitz:
Want additional games to help develop better athletes?
Check out 3 fun, exciting games from Youth Performance Expert Dave Gleason that will increase your athletes’ speed and agility.
About the Author: Julie Hatfield
Julie is the Executive Director of the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA). She grew up as an athlete and played collegiate softball at Juniata College. She currently owns and operates her own youth fitness business pouring into young athletes. Her areas of expertise are youth sport performance, youth fitness business and softball training/instruction. Julie grew up on a dairy farm and can challenge the best of the best in a cow-milking contest. 😉