Youth Training - Motivation, Overprotection, and Focus

Part 1 – Overprotection is an issue, encourage learning and exploring

Young people need encouragement to do physical training, kids are less inclined to push themselves hard, climb things, and just voluntarily do things they perceive to be physically challenging. If you add in the over protective health and safety issues this just amplifies the problem.

Young people are going to hurt themselves by doing physical activity at one stage or another, trying to protect them by discouraging potential “dangerous” activities is actually going to make them less physically able and less robust and therefore get injured regularly further down the line or stop physical activity all together.

My advice would be to let them fall over or fall off things, they will learn to lower their centre of mass, or use their arms to balance more effectively, or pick their feet up so they don’t trip over the floor. Let them jump off things without softening the landing for them, they will learn to bend their knees and hips to absorb the landing, they will learn not to land on their toes without transferring onto their heels after, and they will become more robust from the experience.

Encourage them to climb from a young age, take them to a bouldering wall, toddlers are naturally good at climbing, they will develop their coordination, upper body, lower body and core strength, improve their grip and develop a sense of achievement which will encourage them to do physical activity more.

Encourage movement on all 4’s, this may sound strange since as humans we walk around on 2 legs. But this will develop whole body strength through loading, coordinating limbs and using their core while moving in different positions, and maintain mobility and flexibility which young people lose if they stop moving in all ranges of motion.

Part 2 of this series will look at how to structure young people’s athletic development programmes and Part 3 will look at strategies to encourage young people to take part in these sessions and how to get the most out of them being there.


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