Teaching the push up to a younger athlete can be arduous and complicated depending on physical maturity, body awareness, current skill and or experience. Let’s face it, in most scenarios the younger athlete has had no instruction, incomplete instruction or instruction with incorrect information. Once more, the opportunity to perform a push up is usually at the end of a practice, as a form of punishment or as an element of a timed standardized testing protocol. We know none of these story lines are optimal for any young athlete to achieve true success.
Creating a foundation where a younger athlete can progress to a push up worthy of actually performing as part of any training program is where we need to start.
In this video Dave Gleason, 2010 IYCA Trainer of the Year and owner of Athletic Revolution in Pembroke MA, shows you the progressions he uses with a younger athlete 10-13 years old.
I have referenced the “pirate game” several times in the past in the context of utilizing a fun game to provide several aspects of fitness to young athletes 6-9 years old. As a backdrop, we must remember that our programming for this age group must be rooted in body awareness/movement exploration, coordination, object manipulation, and game play/cooperation. By extension, when programming for young athletes, you need to approach things from a systemic standpoint while maximizing neural or bio-motor development.