When is the Best Time to Start Training a Teenager?

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Question: What is the best system to use start training a teenager who wants to excel as an athlete? When is the best time for them to begin?

Answer: The middle school years beginning in the sixth grade is usually a good time to begin training a young athlete. This is a time for accelerated growth and kids usually are familiar with exercising by this time.

The earliest phase of training is a mixture of weight or resistance exercises and body-weight exercises with an emphasis on movement and form excellence. When their form begins to be consistent, then additional weight is added. One of our training principals states, “Added resistance through a natural range of motion.” Using a good range of motion helps to insure flexibility and protection for the joints with an exercise.

Stretching is another important part of a training program for young athletes. After completing a workout, the muscles, tendons and ligaments are warm and more pliable and is a good time to stretch vs.  starting a workout with an aggressive stretching routine.

Build baseline strength and core strength first. As kids progress, then begin to add movement training and more explosive exercise routines to harness the additional strength that has been built and translate that into a sport.

Speed and technique training is the next step after a point has been reached in the other two levels of training. When that occurs depends on where the athlete began and how quickly the athlete can progress through the first two stages. It’s vital not to rush through periods of training in order to reach another level.

The process itself can be used repeatedly in greater phases and neural patterns are just as important as strength. They become more important when the discussion is about speed development. Every athletic endeavor benefits from training. Building an athlete means developing athletic skills not simply sports specific skills. It’s more difficult to become good at a sport just by playing that sport. Take the time to teach an athlete how to become a better athlete and then transfer that new athleticism into a sport.

God bless and keep training,

Daryl

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