Speed and Agility for Athletes Coping with Growing Pains

When it comes to speed and agility for athletes, customization is key. Having a cookie-cutter program or a “one size fits all” approach can lead to frustrated athletes who see little progress—and might even get injured.


In this video, Dave Gleason, IYCA Expert and owner and head coach of Athletic Revolution Pembroke, shares a reminder to customize speed and agility for athletes who are still growing.


He talks about the potential risks of static stretching, the need to help young athletes succeed while their bodies are maturing, and the many benefits of skipping for speed and agility for athletes.



You can be your local “go-to” expert, just like Dave Gleason, by becoming IYCA Youth Speed and Agility Certified. Check out the IYCA’s at home course and the best Youth Speed and Agility certification on the market!


Speed Training for Athletes




12 Responses

  1. Stephen says:

    Very intriguing info. Hopefully, more youth coaches will understand how important and unique youth conditioning is and take precautions to protect and develop young athletes properly.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Ben Rossi says:

    I am a firm believer that it is essential specifically in youth sports to warmup dynamically. If you are preparing for a game or active event, it would make no sense to hold stretches when your about to put your muscles to the test on the field, or court, whatever sport for that matter. Static holds prior to an event would almost cooldown your muscles rather than prepare them for activity. Keep things active for kids through movement and moblity in order to lubricate joints and force blood into the muscles. This will prepare kids in the safest way possible.

  3. Mario says:

    FINALLY!! I’ve been a staunch opponent of passive stretching modalities for years only to be looked upon as a heretic of sorts. The reality is simple, passive stretching does little to improve tissue quality or other facets of athleticism. A review of the neuroscience surrounding muscular action (and reaction) will readily reveal the flaws in process related to passive work.

    A focus on muscular balance and joint integrity will almost always yield a more healthy and effective athlete.

  4. Dr. Kwame M. Brown says:

    Good job, Dave, as always.

    On the stretching issue:

    This discussion needs a little bit more nuance.

    Certainly dynamic movement is of great importance at this age, and certainly we want to ramp up activity of muscles right before competition

    It is the WAY in which children stretch that is at issue. No, extremely long static holds are probably not the best way to go, but we can talk about slowly moving in and out of stretch positions. We can talk about “numbers” and “percentages” of how far they are stretching. This, then, becomes a “conversation” with the muscles about “feel”, instead of this forced passive stretch.

    What I am trying to guard against is the misinterpretation that there should be NO stretching. I just think stretching technique should be refined for developmental stage.

    Some have used the “no static” stretching to say “yoga is no good”. A couple of things to understand – depending on the style of yoga, it is not necessarily about holding poses for long periods. some styles flow in and out. Furthermore, yoga is not passive or static. When properly practices, even if a pose is being “held”, there are all sorts of subtle adjustments and feel conversations happening.

    Just wanted to add a little bit more flavoring to the soup.

  5. zelenovic says:

    static stretching should be avoided regardless of age..it is well known that causes many injuries. In young players developing coordination, mobility and strenght.

  6. Dave Gleason says:

    “Try to stay away from too much static stretching” is what I mention here. Yes yoga is an excellent methodology and I too utilize yoga in my training programs.

    I am not against static stretching either…given it is used in the appropriate setting and in the correct manner.

    There are many, many tools for our tool box. The art of coaching kids involves picking the right tools for the job..at the right time.

    This video is an overview on speed training for soccer players. Flexibility and once more…mobility is of great importance. FOR THIS AGE GROUP if we can maintain a current level of mobility we have done our job.

    I love the discussion. My videos are at times vague on purpose. Discussion, education and thought as to what is in the best interest of the young athlete(s) one may coach or train are the goals. The IYCA provides a tremendous amount of specific and practical information about this topic, etc.

    Thanks for adding to the discussion!

  7. As related to soccer speed training I think there is definitely a place for static stretching in such a program. For certain age groups and during certain parts of the training sessions or games. It should not be dismissed altogether.
    Dave made a good point about the sensitive periods for these athletes, however they can still be educated about the benefits and how to stretch correctly at that age.

  8. David says:

    Concur wholeheartedly and consider that the same applies to older athletes and field game players.

  9. Ronnie Watkins says:

    Even though static stretching is not the best, the kids do need to warm up properly. With the bone growth and the tight muscles they can tear muscles. When my son was going into his 8th grade year of football he took significant growth spurts. He wanted to condition that summer by running sprints. We went to the track to run and I did not stress proper warm-up and he tore his hamstring and as a result missed his 8th grade year of football. After that he had to be regular with dynamic warm-ups and stretching to avoid re-injury. He made it through high school without any further injury and now plays college football for Eastern Kentucky University.

  10. Mario says:

    Dave, I agree with you on the idea of multiple tools.

    Static or my preferred nomenclature ‘passive’ stretching is a tool I would only consider once effectively ruling out as many other possible barriers to range of motion as possible, where possible. For example bony protrusions, ivy, scar tissue, neurological dysfunction, etc. To indiscriminately assume a joint is limited because of something as arbitrary as tissue length and only tissue length is to court disaster.

    As always a proper neuro-muscular assessment from a trained and qualified professional should be sought before engaging in any activity especially for children who’s CNS might allow for more options and motor compensations initially. It’s been my experience children respond exceptionally well to activation techniques intended to balance muscular action over joints and benefit from them for longer than older populations.

    Great discussion.


  11. David Egan, CSCS says:

    I whole heartedly agree with the ineffectiveness of static stretching for this and most individuals. Active Isolated Stretching is the most effective form of stretching I have come across in my 20 years of experience. The specificity and stabilization of the joint above the muscle being stretched is also paramount. The short 2 second hold and reciprical inhibition effect are key benefits.

  12. R Smith says:

    Do you try to avoid static stretching with athletes of this age all the time?

    What is your opinion of static stretching at the end of practice and/or training sessions?


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