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Coaching athletics for juveniles - Sharing of ideas

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  • 22-08-2019 12:50pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 305 ✭✭


    Hi All,
    Was a long time poster here some time back. Involved now in coaching juvenile and adult athletics.
    Interested in the long term development of juveniles. Not interested in flogging younger kids, making them specialise in early teens before they lose interest or burn out few years down the line.
    Relatively new to coaching and seemed a good idea to see if a thread for sharing of ideas would work. Obviously loads of stuff ( both good and bad) out there now with social media so prevalent. Interested to know what is working for coaches out there regarding helping kids enjoy athletics and staying in the sport.
    This may not work here as it seems to be mainly an adult distance oriented forum, but sure lets see how it goes or not!
    Ill start ball rolling.
    Whats your typical training week for a 13-16 year old athlete who has not yet specialised and you are exposing to all disciplines yet trying to improve aerobic fitness and sprint speed?
    What would a typical session consist of?

    PS. Ive always been blown away by the passion of posters on here for athletics (running mainly). How many of you have considered focusing that passion into coaching / giving back in some form at your local club or is there many doing this?


Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 106 ✭✭Fusitive


    conavitzky wrote: »
    Hi All,
    Was a long time poster here some time back. Involved now in coaching juvenile and adult athletics.
    Interested in the long term development of juveniles. Not interested in flogging younger kids, making them specialise in early teens before they lose interest or burn out few years down the line.
    Relatively new to coaching and seemed a good idea to see if a thread for sharing of ideas would work. Obviously loads of stuff ( both good and bad) out there now with social media so prevalent. Interested to know what is working for coaches out there regarding helping kids enjoy athletics and staying in the sport.
    This may not work here as it seems to be mainly an adult distance oriented forum, but sure lets see how it goes or not!
    Ill start ball rolling.
    Whats your typical training week for a 13-16 year old athlete who has not yet specialised and you are exposing to all disciplines yet trying to improve aerobic fitness and sprint speed?
    What would a typical session consist of?

    PS. Ive always been blown away by the passion of posters on here for athletics (running mainly). How many of you have considered focusing that passion into coaching / giving back in some form at your local club or is there many doing this?

    Kids are 13-16 are whole different kettle of fish to kids under 13. At 13+ training would be bias towards towards their talent and strengths(I.e endurance, sprints, field) and towards 15 to 16, you would be getting event specific(100mH, 800, 3000 etc). There is no point having a 100m sprinter going out everyday slogging through slow aerobic runs, they will get slower and will absolutely despise the training because they are not muscular built for it and if they don't enjoy it, They'll quit.

    There is good and bad info out there now but don't go into it with preconceptions like that, there's are a lot of social culture b.s. in juvenile training that is heralded as good advice and advice that is heralded as bad but has tons of scientific and coaching merit. Don't fall into the Irish club mentality just because it's close to you and people are telling you, there's a ton of other places who approach it differently and have incredible results and keep participation much higher than Ireland to much older ages. That's all I'll say.


  • Registered Users Posts: 305 ✭✭conavitzky


    Fusitive wrote: »
    Kids are 13-16 are whole different kettle of fish to kids under 13. At 13+ training would be bias towards towards their talent and strengths(I.e endurance, sprints, field) and towards 15 to 16, you would be getting event specific(100mH, 800, 3000 etc). There is no point having a 100m sprinter going out everyday slogging through slow aerobic runs, they will get slower and will absolutely despise the training because they are not muscular built for it and if they don't enjoy it, They'll quit.

    There is good and bad info out there now but don't go into it with preconceptions like that, there's are a lot of social culture b.s. in juvenile training that is heralded as good advice and advice that is heralded as bad but has tons of scientific and coaching merit. Don't fall into the Irish club mentality just because it's close to you and people are telling you, there's a ton of other places who approach it differently and have incredible results and keep participation much higher than Ireland to much older ages. That's all I'll say.

    Thanks for reply. Not going in with any preconceptions - blank canvas here! Willing to learn and make mistakes along the way. Lots of interesting stuff on twitter from some of the succesful groups around. Definitely wont be falling into any club "mentality". Just hoping that maybe ideas can be shared and create discussion. For example on two separate occasions (coaching course) , advice was given out as to the best way to improve aerobic fitness in a young teenager 13 years old that hadnt specialised. One was adamant that short 60m sprints ( like a rolling relay) was the way forward. The other said continuous slower stuff was the way forward (racewalking background). Interested to know what people are prescribing to improve different elements of athlete performance. Obviously going to be very different depending on runners event, eg improving aerobic capacity for a 400m runner a lot different than improving aerobic capacity for a 3k runner. As you say waste of time sending a sprinter off doing laps.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    Fusitive wrote: »
    Kids are 13-16 are whole different kettle of fish to kids under 13. At 13+ training would be bias towards towards their talent and strengths(I.e endurance, sprints, field) and towards 15 to 16, you would be getting event specific(100mH, 800, 3000 etc). There is no point having a 100m sprinter going out everyday slogging through slow aerobic runs, they will get slower and will absolutely despise the training because they are not muscular built for it and if they don't enjoy it, They'll quit.

    Rhasidat Adekele was running &placing in xCountry til U16, Won Dublin medals at several shot, Javelin, long and high jump


    early specialisation is bad


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    conavitzky wrote: »
    For example on two separate occasions (coaching course) , advice was given out as to the best way to improve aerobic fitness in a young teenager 13 years old that hadnt specialised. One was adamant that short 60m sprints ( like a rolling relay) was the way forward. The other said continuous slower stuff was the way forward (racewalking background). Interested to know what people are prescribing to improve different elements of athlete performance.

    Definitely a mix of everything! And most certainly for a 13yr old. At that age its nearly all about what development stage they are at and some natural talent, the training itself is nearly irrelevant (we got one 13yr middle distance kids who only rocks up like once every 2wks, trains absolutely half arsed, but still manages to medal at nationals!). Any coach of kids that age should be putting most their effort into creating a good positive enjoyable and maybe slightly competitive environment, and then looking out for things like injuries, rapid growth spurts etc. The actually running and sessions only just come into the equation after all that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭joe35


    Great thread to start up.
    For training I would concentrate mainly on drills for running form. Do an extended warm up with these, for half an hour. Drills I do include; straight leg running, high knee, using ladders, mini hurdles, and cones to put emphasis on proper technique. Then do 15 to 20 mind of actual running. Then 10min cool down. I'm only coaching u10s but definitely think more emphasis should be on form, breathing technique, etc.
    I think for 13/14 year old I would spend similar time practicing technique and increase the actual duration of training for maybe 10 to 15 mins. So training would be for 70/75 mins.
    Also while training I constantly tell them about the importance of your core to keep good running form. At the end of training get them to do some light core work. A few sit ups, lunges, plank etc. Again just do these to encourage good technique.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,227 ✭✭✭Wottle


    joe35 wrote: »
    Great thread to start up.
    For training I would concentrate mainly on drills for running form. Do an extended warm up with these, for half an hour. Drills I do include; straight leg running, high knee, using ladders, mini hurdles, and cones to put emphasis on proper technique. Then do 15 to 20 mind of actual running. Then 10min cool down. I'm only coaching u10s but definitely think more emphasis should be on form, breathing technique, etc.
    I think for 13/14 year old I would spend similar time practicing technique and increase the actual duration of training for maybe 10 to 15 mins. So training would be for 70/75 mins.
    Also while training I constantly tell them about the importance of your core to keep good running form. At the end of training get them to do some light core work. A few sit ups, lunges, plank etc. Again just do these to encourage good technique.

    I'd be so bored, U10s are 8 & 9 years of age, introduce fun games and sprinkle the session with a bit of running, relays. I used to bring a couple of Dodge balls and play games like flinch, Dodge ball chasing, cops and robbers, obstacle courses. They should be making friends, building some team spirit, having fun. They are not mini adults.
    Loads of time to get serious, for some it's that 14, 15, 16 age bracket and they'll let you know their ready.


  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭joe35


    Yeah we have a 'fun on the run' programme in place, but find the kids enjoy, and want the more structured training. Alot of children want to move up the age groups and we won't allow it. They definitely enjoy training and it's never boring with lots of different activities involved


  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭joe35


    With no structured training for juveniles what are people doing for coaching. We're not doing alot, just sent out a few messages about keeping fit and going circuits at home.


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭KSU


    joe35 wrote: »
    With no structured training for juveniles what are people doing for coaching. We're not doing alot, just sent out a few messages about keeping fit and going circuits at home.

    It's s tough time as a coach in particular for juvenile athletes

    I would say that the crucial thing at the moment is engagement. Drop off in the sport at this age is always gonna be tough but this gives an even greater reason for kids to drop off.

    AAI have been putting up some very good video's at the moment on FB/Twitter so I would say check this out.

    Aside from this some creative challenges could be a good shout as well as simply engaging. Something like Zoom can be a great tool to keep people engaged.


  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭joe35


    Hi all, how's training going for everyone.

    With Xc season among us what are people doing for training juveniles.


    Finding it hard to get motivated to motivate the athletes. It's been a long year with very little competition



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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,394 ✭✭✭✭Timmaay


    Agreed, very messy track season also, with some of the juveniles not even done yet (combined events today), whereas most were largely done a month or more back following provincials. No school's the last 18months has been a massive loss for us also, we usually get plenty of kids who only discover athletics while the opportunity of half a day off school presents itself ha. Who knows about xc, going to be messy if the 200 person limit still in place, the national t&f was crazy, spread across 5days, they just about got away with that because the officials were enthusiastic after so long in lockdown, but that will go fast if they are all looking at loads more volunteering this autumn while the GAA get to have 40k at the football finals.



  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭joe35


    Hi, we would always finish training with a small bit of S&C.

    Just a few rocket jumps, lunges, press ups. Nothing too serious.

    Always felt this was a good time to work core as the muscles would be slightly fatigued so you don't need to do many reps.


    Anyway another coach in the club has started doing core work in the warm up. I don't mean just a quick few lunges or that for warm up. A fairly intense one.

    I think this is inappropriate as athletes are then running with a fatigued core, which leads to poor technique.

    Would I be right in this or should we be doing core work prior to training.

    The coach rightly says our athletes core are weak and we do need to work on it.


    Just wondering which is a better time for it



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,534 ✭✭✭Ceepo


    What age group are you coaching, and why are you so sure that they have weak cores?

    There is no doubt that some s&c has a role in athletes development, but more context is needed.

    Usually in younger age groups "core" isn't a limiting factor.



  • Registered Users Posts: 449 ✭✭joe35


    Would be aged 13 to 16. Their technique is very poor. Just different things you'd notice from having weak hips and that. They fatigue very quickly. Then you have coaches making them run more laps when you can physically see they are not fit for them.

    Have seen vast improvements in ones who are coached by one particular coach, who works on technique more than just running laps.


    I really hate the idea of athletes just being told they need to run harder, to get faster.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,534 ✭✭✭Ceepo


    Not saying what is right or wrong but just to point out about a few things.

    We all have our own idea of looks good or pleasing to the eye, however what looks good to the eye doesn't mean its better.

    Not all juveniles are created equally, there are always different degrees of development even within the same age group.

    Getting fatigued easily may not be a strength issue it could be a muscle endurance, or neuromuscular or aerobic.

    How would you know that they had weak hip's?

    Are any of these juveniles getting injured?

    There's no doubt that doing some technical work will benefit them, and should be part of their programme, along with doing jump, sprints and throws



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,526 ✭✭✭Tombo2001


    The whole area of S&C is fraught with risk for me. Its a truism that runners with poor form are prone to injury, but who is to say what 'poor form' really looks like. In my experience, kids are more likely to do S&C work badly than well, often the people teaching them will have seen a few videos on youtube and thats as far as it goes (regardless of the sport). Good idea in theory, good idea if its done well.....but.



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