Three Questions To Ask Before Starting a Youth Sports Training Program | STACK Coaches and Trainers

3 Questions To Ask Before Starting a Youth Sports Training Program

January 23, 2013 | Wray Watkins

Must See Conditioning Videos

There are many misconceptions about youth sports training programs. All parents want the best for their children, and nothing makes them more proud than seeing their children reach their full potential in sports. But when guiding their kids into athletic training, parents need to appreciate that they are still children. Young athletes must be put in the right situations to succeed. I would hate to have an athlete's progress hindered due to lack of information. By addressing three simple questions, parents can get their children off on the right foot and ensure their future success in sports.

Question One: Is my child old enough to start training?

Naturally, parents want their young athletes to be successful, but when mom and dad try to "get a jump on the competition," they sometimes take things too far. Sports performance training is a great tool to help players become better athletes, but only when it is introduced at the proper age.

Based on my experience, as both a strength coach and a father, I have pinpointed some cues that can tell you if your children are not yet ready to start training:

  • They cannot independently tie their shoes
  • Their sport season involves a snack schedule
  • You have to dress them in their uniforms for games

If any of these cues characterize your situation, don't worry. Take some time to allow your kids to fall in love with the sports they choose. When they can honestly agree on performance aspects they want to improve, then it may be time to look for a sports training program.

Question Two: Does my child have enough time to commit to training?

Children's lives have become more hectic. Parents now face the task of proper time management for themselves and their children's activities. (Read Marcellus Wiley on the Value of Time Management.) For a youth sports training program to be safe and effective, everyone involved needs to devote quality time to it. If sports performance training is number three on your child's list of daily after-school activities, you may need to reshuffle your time commitments. Youth athletes have only so much comprehension and physical energy available. So, parents, if your athlete looks like a zombie walking into my gym every session, we need to talk.

Question Three: What do I expect from this program?

One of the most important aspects of starting a training program is to have realistic expectations. Youth athletes present complex situations, involving growth spurts, hormone changes and school-age personalities, all of which can affect performance gains and losses. Parents need to understand that early results can fluctuate—and to think in terms of building a solid training base for the long term. I'm all for setting high goals, but there need to be interim goals that kids can achieve. One 4-week training block will not produce NFL Combine numbers. Attainable goals and a commitment to a full program will set the stage for an athlete to reach his or her full potential.

Wray Watkins
- Wray Watkins is the director of strength and conditioning at MVP Sports Centers in Lake Forest, Calif. He has worked with athletes from the NFL,...
Wray Watkins
- Wray Watkins is the director of strength and conditioning at MVP Sports Centers in Lake Forest, Calif. He has worked with athletes from the NFL,...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Win the Fourth Quarter With These Basketball Sled Push Finishers

Throughout the realm of social media, we see sled push complexes and its variations from Crossfit, to Strongman athletes, to elite athletes, to regular...

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Interval Sprints

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Fartlek Run

STACK Challenge: 500-Meter Row

Test Your Toughness With the Who Dat? Challenge

Alternatives to Boring Cardio Training

5 Brutal Sprint Drills That Push the Lactic Threshold

Off-Season Conditioning: Full-Body Med Ball Workout

STACK Challenge: Finish Strong

LaTroy Hawkins' Epic Battle Ropes Workout

Can You Survive These 4 Crazy Plate Push Finishers?

LeBron James's Insane Conditioning Drill

Why You're Doing Mountain Climbers Wrong and How to Fix Them

Baseball Conditioning: Why You Need an Aerobic Base

STACK Challenge: The 10/10 Treadmill Challenge

In Defense of Cardio

Training Secrets of UFC Champion Johny Hendricks

Who Invented the Burpee?

Advanced High School Football Summer Conditioning Program

5 NBA Players Who Found Their Game After Losing Weight

Full Body Workout: 6-Week Conditioning Plan

Full-Body Conditioning Workout: 3 Loaded Carry Variations

Get in Game Shape With 4 Conditioning Combos

How Much Conditioning Do You Really Need?

STACK Challenge: The 100-Burpee Challenge

How to Avoid Hockey Conditioning That Slows You Down

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Hill

In-Season Baseball Pitcher Workout Program

Can You Survive the

Essentials of Spring Football Training

Get in Shape With This Basketball Conditioning Workout

How Sporting Kansas City Stays 'Sporting Fit'

High-Intensity Interval Training: How Much Is Too Much?

STACK Challenge: 5 Minutes of Treadmill Torture

Train Harder With Hill Sprints

The Mount Everest Treadmill Challenge

7 Footwork Drills That Give You an Advantage

Get in Shape With 5 Intense Lower-Body Finishers

Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Altitude Training

Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

Can You Pass Drew Brees' Conditioning Test?

Alactic Capacity: What It Is and Why Athletes Need It