Youth Fitness Business vs Adults Continued
6.) Poor Posture – Let’s face it… adults have been on this earth longer and therefore, have been battling gravity longer. With prolonged static postures at 8-10 hour jobs–combined with inactivity, the typical adult suffers from the most common postural dysfunction: upper and lower crossed syndromes.
True, but activity (especially competitive activity) doesn’t lessen the risk or incidence of postural dysfunction, it adds to the matrix of work a Coach must do with young athletes.
The one feature present in youth that makes this point even more issue-oriented is the fact that teenagers are in growth. Over-specialization and competitiveness in youth sports have made the time frame of PHV (and beyond) extraordinarily challenging from a coaching, bodily dysfunction standpoint.
Conservatively, 60% of the young athletes you will work with are considered ‘sport specialists’ in terms of their lack of multi-lateral development. That degree of over-patterninzation coupled with human growth factors can and does make posture, dysfunction and injury consideration an absolute nightmare at the youth level of coaching.
7.) Personalities – Adults are more set in their ways. They present Type A or Type B personalities which force fitness professionals to adjust their coaching style several times per day. Young athletes are typically trained in groups and THEY must adjust to the coaching style. When your 54 year old client is a vice-president of a large investment firm, do you really think he wants to be coached in a manner that invokes he is the “subordinate”? Consider this: a youngster are more coach-able.
Couldn’t disagree with this point more. For years, I constructed a personality profile for working with young athletes that was based on the reality of different temperament types – and is the cornerstone of the ‘Art of Coaching’ portion of the IYCA’s Youth Fitness Specialist – Level 1 course.
The days of having all your young athletes ‘adjust to your coaching’ are long past. The reality is that coaching young people is about education and developing skill set – that requires an involved process of altering communication styles and understanding learning sequences.
Combine that with the rather diffuse nature of a young person’s personality – if you’ve ever trained a 15 year athlete the day after they’ve broken up with their girlfriend or boyfriend, you know exactly what I mean.
The IYCA context of personality profile looks like this:
- High Motivation/High Skill
- Low Motivation/High Skill
- High Motivation/Low Skill
- Low Motivation/Low Skill
Each personality type requires an extremely different coaching method in order to ensure adequate communication and learning. Moreover, a given young athlete can (and will) change their profile daily. Learning how to work with varying personalities in the same group and managing to keep effective communication and learning moving forward well is the art of what we do.
8.) Orthopedic issues – Most adults will present orthopedics problems stemming from past knee surgeries, hip replacements, frozen shoulders, blah, blah, blah. This list is long. The bottom line is adults have not taken care of themselves for longer period of time than today’s youth. Their bodies are weathered. They have neglected their bodies for a longer period of time and therefore, are paying the price now. Fitness professionals need to adjust, modify, and help correct certain aspects of the kinetic chain to make the exercise program enjoyable, pain-free, and effective.
My points from #6 stand so no need to re-hash. I will add however, that 99% of young athletes who come to you have had incredibly poor weight room experiences in the past (and may even continue that trend while in your care). Orthopedic issues abound with every young athlete I have ever worked with and although John’s point of adults being in disrepair longer than kids is reasonable, the alternative side of that argument is, yes… but kids are experiencing loads and improper movement patterns that make orthopedic concerns ongoing and ever changing.
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