The Biggest Loser……..Our View of Kids
We have all seen or heard of the show The Biggest Loser and many feel that this is the best approach with kids. Belittle and berate them with the hopes that they will be broken down so coaches can “build” them back up. I can say that this approach is acceptable for adults (if that is what they want), however, is a much poorer approach with children. Adults are biologically and psychologically prepared for this type of treatment, but children are not. We often drive children to the breaking point thus turning them away from particular sports and an active life. Childhood obesity is on the rise and we as adults are trying to attack it from a logical point of view. We need to attack it with a child like passion, with raw emotion based on science. The real kicker is, it doesn’t take science to know that the more active an individual is, the more energy they expend, and wait for it…..the more weight they lose. Now with that being said, lets apply that same principle to coaching children in athletics. Often we pursue coaching from an adult standpoint, trying to accomplish particular goals because that is what we are comfortable doing. Let’s step outside the box and not think of children like our equals—they are still kids and the science lays out a wonderful model of developing them. The kicker is the Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) model actually has the potential to lead to better athletes, but still allows for children to learn healthy lifestyles. Look at the way you or your child’s coaching model is portrayed, if it the “Jillian” model (from the Biggest Loser) then the retention rate will be lower for kids to continue athletics thus increasing the potential for obesity.
Learn to Train-Phase 3
Ages: 9-12 Boys/8-11 Girls
The main goal here is to continue to develop general fundamental movements and general sports skills. This stage coincides with peak motor development; therefore, the focus should be on skill development. If an athlete misses this phase, the potential to reach their full potential may be inhibited. Aspects that should be of focus are: skill sequences (ie hitting, throwing, kicking), basic position requirements, and encouragement to perform tasks with their non-dominate side.
Ages: 5-9 Boys/5-8 Girls (developmental age)
Our goal during this period is to focus on the development of the ABC’S (agility, balance, coordination, and speed) of athleticism, hand-eye coordination, and sport’s specific skills. Encourage your children to play multiple sports-every sport has specific skills that transfer to others. For example, if a child cannot kick a ball, they do not learn weight transfer and balance necessary for proper lower body mechanics needed during pitching. A great way to teach these skills is an obstacle course. Set up an obstacle course that requires children to perform tasks such as crawling through a tunnel, jumping over an object, weaving through sticks, or even skipping. Something like an obstacle course allows them to run through and play, race them if you want. Its ok to make it competitive, kids like that. Keep the FUN in FUNdamentals.