How to Start a Training Program

April 11, 2012

Must See Training Videos

Many misconceptions exist about youth athlete training—notably, the idea that young athletes should not participate in any sort of sports performance program. Studies have shown that athletes as young as seven years old can derive benefits from non-weight bearing sports performance training. Under the supervision of trained professionals and with the use of correct exercises, young athletes can see improvements in their overall health, sports performance and confidence. The key is choosing the correct exercises, adhering to strict form and making it enjoyable.

Bodyweight Exercises
Before beginning any type of training program, young athletes must be cleared to participate by a doctor and evaluated by a strength coach or trainer to assess strengths and weaknesses and identify an appropriate starting point. If you don't have access to a strength coach or trainer, start with bodyweight exercises, like Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Squats and Lunges. You must master your own bodyweight before beginning to lift weight. Doing so will allow you to develop the solid base you'll need for improved sports performance. It will also prepare you for more advanced lifts as you increase your strength and coordination.

Prevent Injury
Improving sports performance is only one major goal of a successful sports performance program. The other is injury prevention. Injuries often occur in training not because of the athlete's age, but because of incorrect form or instruction. When beginning a training program, you must master each exercise's correct form. If you ignore form, you can set yourself up for injury and reduce  the effectiveness of your workouts.

Have Fun
Finally, it is important to remember that workouts don't have to be all business. For young athletes, especially, they should be fun. You should be lively in the weight room and encourage your friends and teammates to perform their best. Add a competitive element. Use games like "Tag" or a relay race as speed or conditioning drills. Games are entertaining, and they keep the atmosphere light.


Colin Quay, CSCS, CCS, is the owner of Elite Athlete Training Systems (Washington, D.C.) and has trained thousands of the area’s top high school, college and professional athletes. He is an expert contributor for THR, a SPARQ certified trainer, a regional director for SPARQ Junior Football Combine, an Under Armour C360 trainer and a USA Weightlifting Level 1 sports performance coach. He graduated from Western Maryland College (McDaniel College) with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and kinesiology.

THR College Planning
- THR College Planning is one of the nation's premier recruiting and placement programs. THR specializes in leveraging financial opportunities in the educational market. Academic development,...
THR College Planning
- THR College Planning is one of the nation's premier recruiting and placement programs. THR specializes in leveraging financial opportunities in the educational market. Academic development,...
Must See
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 37,127,207
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,942
Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,880

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 69,070
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 9,456
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 133,452
Load More


STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers


Latest issues of STACK Magazine


Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice


Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes


Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,880
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,300
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,676
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,782
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,942

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Odell Beckham Jr. Shows Out on the Speed Ladder

3 Great Ways to Reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Improve Your Lacrosse Power With These Exercises

How to Train for a Triathlon Without Going Broke

WATCH: Darnell Dockett Manhandles 655-Pound Tire

WATCH: Torrey Smith and the Human Hammer Pull-Down

5 Big Benefits of Yoga for Basketball Players

WATCH: Giuseppe Rossi's 360-Degree Pilates Side Plank

WATCH: Vontae Davis's Half-Box Squat with Plate

SURVIVING SEALFIT: 3 Ways SEAL-Style Workouts Change Your Life

Ndamukong Suh's High School Highlights Not What You'd Expect

How to Find the Perfect Strength Coach or Personal Trainer

WATCH: Takeo Spikes Still Working On Getting a Bigger Neck

Why All Athletes Should Do Soft Tissue Work

Kevin Love

Victor Cruz's Pool Workout with a ViPR

Why These 7 NFL Receivers Do Pilates

Home Gyms in the 1800s Were a Lot Like Today's TRX Trainer

WATCH: A. J. Green and Justin Houston Pushing a Truck

WATCH: Usain Bolt's 2-in-1 Decline Sit-Up with Bench Press

The 3 Best Posture Exercises That Build Strength

WATCH: D.J. Williams' Endurance-Crushing Towel Plank Walk

Lacrosse Players: Get Stronger on the Field with 4 Exercises

Fixing Common Weaknesses in Lacrosse Players

4 Unnecessary Things That Only Overcomplicate Your Workouts

WATCH: David Wilson's Acrobat Ab Workout

WATCH: Sergio Ramos's Trampoline Wall Touch

Workouts of the Top Players in the 2015 NBA Playoffs

WATCH: Travis Kelce's Split-Squat Jump with Battling Ropes

The Dangers of Heat Stress for Athletes

WATCH: Shawne Merriman's 'Bus Driver' Shoulder Workout

How to Time Training Peaks to Be Your Best When It Matters Most

SURVIVING SEALFIT: How Not to Hurt Yourself (Like I Did)

Michael Bamiro's Big Breakthrough

Introducing the 2015 'All-Gaines NFL Combine Team'

5 Boss Workouts From Olympic Snowboarder Hannah Teter