In today’s world, children are being exposed to training and athletics very early-on in life. This early exposure should benefit children giving them healthy lifestyle tools, improved physical and emotional well-being, along with a positive social environment to grow and develop.
To ensure that training and athletics becomes this positive experience for youth athletes, there are some considerations, and developmental stages and goals that parents and those who work with youth athletes should be aware of.
The good news is that if your child is already enrolled in Parisi Speed School, this means they are getting the most effective training by certified coaches who are well aware of proper training considerations!
While your athlete is in good hands at Parisi, as a parent you may still have questions like:
“Is my child too young to train?”
“Will it have negative effects?”
“Are they being pushed too hard too soon?”
These are all normal concerns to have, especially without having the right information and knowledge to ease your mind!
It’s about time those questions were answered. We’ve broken down four stages of athletic development to lead to long-term success and other key things to consider to help maximize the athletic potential of your athlete.
Goals for Youth Training
First, let’s start by defining “youth.” For our purpose, when we talk about youth athletes, we are discussing children ages 5 to 18 years old.
It is important to keep in mind that every child is different and may develop at different ages and at their own pace! These goals are a general overview of what milestones should be mastered before children move up the training ladder.
Training young athletes is a lot like training toddlers to stand up or walk. Before your child can walk, they must learn to stand up. Just as before your athlete can dribble the soccer ball down the field, they must learn coordination and movement patterns.
Here are the three goals that should be the primary focus of early stages of training:
- Develop coordination and rhythm
- Mastering the basics, simple controlled movements (hand & eye coordination, balance, jumping, jogging etc.)
- General movement patterns
- Ability to perform a specific movement with relative strength and speed (ex: sprinting, throwing, catching, squatting etc.)
- Love for the sport and training
These training goals serve as the foundation for young athletes. It is important these goals are accomplished by the age of 10-13 years old.
As your athlete gets older, stronger and more experienced so can their training, athletic competition and exercise variation.
Now that you know what the foundation of your child’s training should consist of, you don’t want to stop there. You want your child to constantly be developing, improving and growing as an athlete and an individual.
This is where the 4 stages of long-term development come into play. These stages provide simplified activities, developmental milestones and other training guidelines that can help to maximize long-term athletic potential of your athlete.
4 Stages of Long Term Athletic Development
Stage 1: 8 years old and younger
- Activities: Swimming, Gymnastics, Track & Field (running, jumping, throwing), Team Sports
- Developmental Milestones: Quality & Diversity of Movements, Rhythm & Coordination
- Guidelines: Remember variety over specification!
Stage 2: 9-13 years old
- Participate in 3 different competitive sports seasons
- 2-3 practices per week
- 1 game/tournament per week
- Focus on athleticism and diverse skill development
Stage 3: 14-18 years old
- Participate in 2 different competitive sports seasons
- 4-5 practices per week
- 1-2 games per week
Stage 4: 19+
- 1 competitive sport
- Pre- season→ Competitive/Championship season→ Off-season = Yearly Flow
These 4 stages each build off of each other, starting with the major development stage and progressing from there.
First ask “Can my child perform the movement correctly?” If the answer is yes, they can begin to progress by increasing the movement’s speed, adding weight, combining skills etc.
As your child gets older, they will be able to handle more rigorous training, longer practice hours, and their training may start to become more specific.
You have been given a simplified and general overview of training considerations for your youth athlete and the goals and developmental stages that are involved to set your athlete up for success.
However, there are a few more important training considerations that you should keep in mind.
After all as a parent you are going to be making the initial decision to enroll your young athlete in their first gymnastics class or bring them to their first training session.
We compiled a short list of things to keep in mind throughout your athlete’s athletic & training process.
Training Considerations to Remember
- Avoid early specialization. Give your child the chance the experience all types of athletics, training etc. The more sports they are exposed to the more well-rounded they will be!
- Remember your athlete’s age. Winning is great, but at a young age, fun and development is more important.
- Every child has a different developmental age. Don’t rush it, let them develop at their own pace.
- Support your athlete! Be a part in fostering a positive training experience for your athlete.
Exposing your child to training and athletics at an early age puts them on the right path to developmental success both physically and mentally! Ensure that your child is learning the right training techniques to reach developmental milestones and most importantly that they are having fun doing it!
If it’s time to set your child off on the right foot, find a Parisi Speed School near you.