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  • Training for younger athletes

    I was hoping for some advice as far as my kids are concerned. 2 of my daughters, age 9 and 11 are getting interested in sports, specifically soccer and track & field. They will be spending most of the summer with me and know that i work out so they have asked me to help them get in shape for the fall. Despite the pedestal they may have put me on, I have no idea what kids in this age group need.

    There is so much misinformation out there, I was hoping someone could give me some suggestions or point me towards some good information. Obviously they aren't ready to hit the gym and start lifting, but maybe there are some good general programs for athleticism for younger kids? Or should we just stay active in general and get more serious down the line?

    Thanks in advance, and if this is not the right place to post questions, I apologize...

  • #2
    Not sure how much credence there is on what I'm about to post so take from it what you will...

    I've read that at such young ages, they should avoid lifts that put stress/compact the spine because they are still growing...IE squats, deads, cleans, heavy shrugs, standing presses, etc.

    Makes sense to me but then again who knows, hehe.
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    • #3
      personally (and i have no kids), i would just focus on keeping it fun. challenges involving running, sprinting, skipping, jumping. plenty of praise/rewards etc. but there are fathers on here which im sure have some extremely valuable input on this.

      possibly google some good soccer skills exercises, things like dribbling between cones with a shot on goal at the end? that sort of stuff.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by theroymccoy View Post
        Not sure how much credence there is on what I'm about to post so take from it what you will...

        I've read that at such young ages, they should avoid lifts that put stress/compact the spine because they are still growing...IE squats, deads, cleans, heavy shrugs, standing presses, etc.

        Makes sense to me but then again who knows, hehe.
        Utter nonsence. You can just have them do the basics, squat/leg press, benchpress and deads. 2-3 days a week, full body, keep reps higher 15-20 reps as well as the soccer drills mentioned, cardio etc...
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        • #5
          Thanks for the input. I'm going to concentrate on keeping it fun, maybe look into some short plyo drills, but don't want to run them into the ground and have them end up hating sports... and me!!! lol

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          • #6
            Originally posted by theroymccoy View Post
            Not sure how much credence there is on what I'm about to post so take from it what you will...

            I've read that at such young ages, they should avoid lifts that put stress/compact the spine because they are still growing...IE squats, deads, cleans, heavy shrugs, standing presses, etc.

            Makes sense to me but then again who knows, hehe.
            It's a myth!!!!!!! They are very young though so if I were in your shoes I would focus on plyometrics, partner workouts, medicine balls, and things of that nature. I don't see that age and those sports requiring weightlifting.

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            • #7
              At that age, and their interest in soccer, I would just take them to the park and focus on basic hand (foot) eye coordination. Juggling the ball, passing, shooting etc. My kids love the cone drills and ladder sprints. Also pick up some Pugg Goals at your local sporting goods store and play "no Goalie" soccer games. Most of all, Keep it fun!



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              • #8
                Like others have said, it's going to have to be fun and interesting to them. If they're goal oriented, you could get away with more challenging things. My 3 boys love mountain biking, and my younger two love lifting, 8 and 10. They'll get out with the dumbbells every chance they get in the garage. We do more general fitness stuff, baseball drills, soccer and football drills, keeps it fun for them and me too.
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                • #9
                  I think Paul Carter at Lift-Run-Bang blogged about how he trained his young daughter. If I recall he had her doing Squats, Chin, Incline Bench and conditioning and over the months he started introducing other technical lifts, overhead, bench and deadlifts. I dunno what were the reps he had her do but I guess she went heavy eventually because he says she is stronger than any male kids her age. Will look for the link and post it later.
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                  • #10
                    For sports 9 and 11 really isn't very young. If they want to go anywhere with them and become an elite competitor one day things will pick up very soon if not now. Just something to keep in mind.

                    Something that kills me with younger kids is that their 'coach' or w/e justs runs them around to tire them out to make it easier for mommy and daddy to handle as opposed to training with the focus of developing actual skills and real athletic gains. Also something you might want to keep in mind.

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                    • #11
                      Coming from a long time soccer player and someone who ran a girls soccer camp at one time, girls require additional exercise that most guys dont need. A lot of girls injuries in sports stems from their lack of body control which is linked directly to strength and coordination. I've seen way too many girls in soccer smack into each other at full speed simply because they cant stop their momentum or just get out of they way of each other.
                      Girls are also very susceptible to knee injury because their wider hips creates a greater angle at the knee. So there is more lateral stress across the knee joint. The most successful and healthy girls soccer players that I knew not only had great ball control, but also developed those strong soccer thighs.

                      I believe that running stadiums, doing bodyweight squats or jump squats, isolateral leg exercises (pistol squat variations), and simple footwork drills could really help your girls to not only become better players but to also stay healthy.

                      Oh and last thing, make sure they take at least one season of the year off so they can recover. There are too many kids playing in fall club teams, spring school team, then summer travel teams.

                      Good luck
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by chris.tan View Post
                        Coming from a long time soccer player and someone who ran a girls soccer camp at one time, girls require additional exercise that most guys dont need. A lot of girls injuries in sports stems from their lack of body control which is linked directly to strength and coordination. I've seen way too many girls in soccer smack into each other at full speed simply because they cant stop their momentum or just get out of they way of each other.
                        Girls are also very susceptible to knee injury because their wider hips creates a greater angle at the knee. So there is more lateral stress across the knee joint. The most successful and healthy girls soccer players that I knew not only had great ball control, but also developed those strong soccer thighs.

                        I believe that running stadiums, doing bodyweight squats or jump squats, isolateral leg exercises (pistol squat variations), and simple footwork drills could really help your girls to not only become better players but to also stay healthy.

                        Oh and last thing, make sure they take at least one season of the year off so they can recover. There are too many kids playing in fall club teams, spring school team, then summer travel teams.

                        Good luck
                        Thanks! Never thought about the injury prevention from the standpoint of gender, but that really makes a lot of sense.

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                        • #13
                          There seems to be a whooooole lot of broscience in here, lots of assertions, and absolutely ZERO backing up of claims. Anyone care to put your money where your mouths are?
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                          kind of a douche

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                          • #14
                            I would not have young kids squat. Others can do what they like with their children but the risk to benefit just doesnt seem worth it.


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                            • #15
                              I don't know why it won't let me pull up the full article, my school has never had NSCA articles available online so that may be the reason. This is from the abstract.

                              FAIGENBAUM, A. D., KRAEMER, W. J., BLIMKIE, C. R., JEFFREYS, I., MICHELI, L. J., NITKA, M., & ROWLAND, T. W. (2009). YOUTH RESISTANCE TRAINING: UPDATED POSITION STATEMENT PAPER FROM THE NATIONAL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING ASSOCIATION. Journal Of Strength & Conditioning Research (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins), 23S60-

                              This article builds on previous recommendations from the NSCA and should serve as the prevailing statement regarding youth resistance training. It is the current position of the NSCA that:

                              1. A properly designed and supervised resistance training program is relatively safe for youth.

                              2. A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can enhance the muscular strength and power of youth.

                              3. A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can improve the cardiovascular risk profile of youth.

                              4. A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can improve motor skill performance and may contribute to enhanced sports performance of youth.

                              5. A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can increase a young athlete's resistance to sports-related injuries.

                              6. A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can help improve the psychosocial well-being of youth.

                              7. A properly designed and supervised resistance training program can help promote and develop exercise habits during childhood and adolescence.

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