Utilize M.O.L.D for Programming Youth

In developing programming for youth, it is important to utilize the IYCA’s four-part programming guideline, easily recalled by the acronym “MOLD.”

Under this guideline, movement must dominate, the coach must be open to communication variances and learning style variances, and should avoid training and instead teach.  Let’s break these down.

M-Movement Must Dominate:

Young athletes are dynamic and ever-changing creatures. Development and optimization of motor control requires both depth and breadth of movement experiences. Specific skill instruction must take a back seat to general movement skills, particularly during the more foundational years of development.

Far too often, coaches attempt to integrate far too technical aspects of instruction into programming at the expense of activity that is more focused on the acquisition and refinement of general motor skill.

O-Open to Communication Variances:

Just as instruction can oftentimes be inappropriately geared toward specific skill acquisition, the manner in which coaching cues and non-verbal coaching feedback is delivered can tend to be nonspecific in nature. Young athletes are unique individuals with broad-ranging variability with respect to preferred communication styles. 

Coaches can sometimes assume that an athlete who does not respond favorably to their coaching is lazy or unmotivated. However, a reflective practitioner is committed to exploring potential barriers to instruction, which in many instances may be directly linked to differences in the athlete’s preferred communication style. 

L-Learning Style Variances:

Young athletes do not vary only with respect to communication styles. Learning styles vary considerably from person to person. Unfortunately, in cases in which a teacher’s instructional style is not compatible with a student’s preferred learning style, the student will experience a significantly more difficult time in acquiring the intended information.

Developing a broad-based instructional style and being attuned to individual differences is the best way that a coach or teacher can optimize athlete learning. 

D-Don’t Train; Teach:

Too often, conditioning programs for youth are geared toward eliciting the “best” performance improvement by applying adult based exercise prescriptions with only slightly decreased volume and/or intensity. However, programming for youth should be fundamentally different. At the same time, the most basic goal of programming for youth should not be to train the body to peak physical performance. 

Instead, the goal should be to teach the young athlete both how to move most efficiently and effectively and to develop a fundamental love for physical activity. Unfortunately, programming that is too heavily focused on training, introduced early in development, can lead to physical injury and/or psychological fatigue. 

If you want to learn more about the development & programming of athletes through the ages and what to consider as a coach/trainer check out this free Video- where IYCA CEO and LTAD Expert Jim Kielbaso breaks down Training athletes from Start to Finish 

Source: Essentials of Youth Fitness & Conditioning Text by Toby Brooks, PhD, David Stodden, PhD & Jim Kielbaso, MS

Leave a Reply

Comment using: