CHILDREN ARE NOT MINIATURE ADULTS
Clinicians, coaches, and exercise scientists all agree that resistance training and exercise can be a safe and extremely effective method of conditioning for children. Although this can be a very effective way of keeping kids fit and healthy it is also just as important that we remember children are not mini-adults.
Yes, of course, they are going to grow up to become an adult but that doesn’t mean they have to behave like that just yet.
Long Term Athlete Development
Improving performance in youth athletes should be viewed as a long term plan. The Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) pathway should be considered and implemented when designing a program for young athletes. This model provides the coach with a pathway for developing the child, the adolescent, and the adult through a series of stages.
Look down below at an LTAD Model that has been created by World Rugby.
While the LTAD model presented here is associated with chronological age, it should be noted that biological age needs to be taken into consideration, as the chronological age is not very accurate in determining the stage of physical development of a young athlete. Therefore, designing a resistance training program should be based on an appropriate progression according to the athletes’ stage of maturation (biological age) in addition to training age, motor skill competency, technical proficiency, and existing strength levels.
No matter how big or strong the child might be, children are physically less mature and are often experiencing some training activities for the first time. This means that adult programs should not be superimposed or watered down to fit the younger population. An adult version for our Kids would have way too much intensity and volume and not enough rest periods.
When introducing the youth athlete to any form of resistance training it is always best to underestimate their abilities and gradually increase the training over time to allow them to enjoy it to the fullest and get the best out of your child.