Developing Young Athletes: What is Athletic Intelligence?




Developing Young Athletes




Defined by the dictionary as –


“The capacity for learning, understanding and aptitude for grasping relationships”


That sets the stage very nicely for the meaning of this IYCA-based term.


What about ‘Athletic’?


It’s defined as such –


“Involving the use of physical skills or capabilities”


String those two definitions together and you’ve got the basis for the main motivation needed when training and developing young athletes.


In short –


“Increasing the capacity for learning and understanding various physical skills and how they relate”


That is the crux and critical requirement with respect to programming for young athletes.


And how backwards do we have that these days?


Increase the capacity for learning:


It’s not about over-coaching pre-adolescent children.


Teaching them the ‘mechanics’ of how to throw a baseball or kick a soccer ball.


It’s about enhancing their knowledge and understanding of how to perform these actions via Guided Discovery.


Allowing them to play.


Get a feel for the motion themselves and through trail and error, develop bodily aptitude.


Understanding various physical skills and how they relate:


Through this ‘trail and error’ period of development, it can’t be about specificity, either.


It’s about indirect, global stimulus.


Running fast, for example, isn’t just based on the action of running.


It’s based on:


– Rhythm


– Movement Adequacy


– Efficient production and absorption of force


– Body position for optimal acceleration and deceleration


These physical skills aren’t only developed via performing endless sets of sprints or start and stop drills for young athletes



In fact, they are BEST developed singularly. Learned and understood in isolation and then eventually brought together in a relative format.


If you haven’t already, watch this basic ‘Skip Loop’ exercise from the ‘Coordination Development’ DVD found in Complete Athlete Development –









Movement Adequacy


Force Production and Absorption


Through drills like these, my young athletes are learning how to be ‘intelligent’.


It is through indirect methods of enhancing bodily knowledge that kids form the basis of becoming superior athletes in time.


It’s a process that can’t be rushed or overlooked.


The problem is, we rush and/or ignore this phase of athletic development all the time.


And that’s the main reason so few of our young athletes ever amount to much in terms of optimal sporting success.


They were rushed through a process.


Over-coached and ‘specified’ too early.


They simply aren’t Athletically Intelligent.


And when you don’t have basic intelligence, you can’t possibly expand your knowledge passed a certain point.


You lack the foundational aptitude on which to learn more.


Ask yourself this question –


Are the indirect aspects of learning addition and subtraction important to the eventual mastery of specific mathematical skills such as calculus or algebra?


You better believe they are.


Now apply that reasoning to developing young athletes.


Isn’t it time you saw firsthand what training for sporting success should REALLY look like?


Have a look at Complete Athlete Development and see what you’re missing –



Complete Athlete Development – Click Here Now




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