Having a gym that exclusively works with youth athletes finding ways to keep training fun, exciting, and fresh is always important.  It is challenging though given that more athletes today have taken the specialized sport route.  It’s as if youth athletes today come out of the womb as soccer, football, or baseball players, locking themselves in the same monotonous activities which can ultimately lead to untimely and inevitable burnout.  But let’s be real here, kids are only doing what their parents think is best, so it isn’t their fault if they unknowingly put an early expiration date on their athletic career.  Sounds a bit morbid and dramatic right?  But this is why making athletic development fun and fresh for kids is so important.

I’ve talked about this before but specializing in sports at an early age has more disadvantages than benefits, especially sports that don’t have true off-seasons where kids can get some rest, recovery, and build themselves up over a period of 4-5 months.  At the Boost Performance Center in Corona, CA we know that while it’s important to make physical activity of any kind a staple of your child’s development, it should be well rounded.  I can’t tell you how many kids I see with the “no days off mentality” that step into my gym.  They usually start off at the top and ahead of their peers because they’ve racked up an extensive amount of hours of training and competing at their sport, but sooner or later their peers begin to catch up.  This can become confusing, and often frustrating for kids who are used to being the best.  Soon training and competing doesn’t feel the same anymore and that’s when burnout starts to rear its head in.

We actively combat this in our gym by making sure it’s a place where athletes are exposed to a variety of movements and training stimuli, while still having fun and maintaining a positive connection with their peers.  Youth athletes are the most fun to train because they benefit tremendously from variety.  Specificity of training is not as important in developmental years so our goals are to work on different types of training and build different facets of performance throughout the year.  This is also a crucial time to build our athletes’ work capacity, and encourage healthy competition.  We find creative ways to push our athletes hard, have fun, while still working on the fundamentals of athletic development.

There used to be a time when athletic development consisted of being outside, playing a variety of sports with friends from the neighborhood.  What we have today are opportunities for kids to have access to more refined and focused development.  This is a good thing but also comes with its drawbacks as mentioned above.  To an extent we need to get back to those days, using fun and variety as a driver of athletic development.  Getting back to this will bring joy back into the process, and keep kids wanting more which will lead to longevity.  At the end of the day we are dealing with kids, and having fun should always be the first step of their athletic journey.-Boostman

Coach Bass

Owner, Boost Training Systems in Corona, CA
Level 1 & 2 Coach Bommarito Performance