Here at NSS, we work with young athletes. We see athletes in the gym as young as 9. But do we work with these 9-year-old athletes in the same way as we would a 19-year-old athlete?
Should we just do a watered-down version of the 19-year-old athlete's program, as all athletes are the same? The short answer is NO.
Young athletes have needs that are far different of athletes who are older. Young athletes are still building the coordination, balance, and basic strength required to complete many of the complex athletic skills older athletes complete on a daily basis.
Therefore, in young athletes, the goal is to build a broad base of movement. We try to build this large "movement vocabulary" in the young athlete so that when they go off into their sport, they already have experience doing the broad movements and skills the sport requires.
Running and skipping, jumping and hopping, throwing and hanging, squatting/lunging and balancing are all things to include in a youth program. The keys are to build confidence in all these different movements while making it FUN because movement/sports/exercise should be fun!