Train to Train-Phase 4
Ages: 12-16 Male/11-15 Female
Focus training on the overall athlete based on their physical, mental, emotional and cognitive ability. Typically, during this developmental age range, young players begin to play sports for competitive organizations. It is important that the training process maintain a “player centered” approach. This phase coincides with the growth spurt, which enters the window of trainability that focuses on stamina. It is important to maintain flexibility during this phase. Children will often lose this as they begin to focus more on sport specific activities. During the Train to Train period, many children will make the decision to pursue competitive athletics or move into the active for life phase. Active for life should focus on healthy lifestyles in the recreational realm of athletics.
Those that continue the pursuit of competitive athletics should begin mental training, more advanced technical instruction, and tactical instruction. I would strongly discourage the desire to specialize in one sport prior to the age of 15 years old due to the benefit from other sports. It is encouraged that parents be active participants in their child’s athletic life due to the injury risk that is prevalent at this age.
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.