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How To Be Creative with Youth Training

Sep 09, 2019


How To Be Creative with Youth Training

By: Jimmy Dabney

As a coach, it is rewarding to see the fire of competition spark excitement within young athletes. However, the energy and will to enjoy both training and competing seems to be slowly slipping away from these athletes likely due to the loss of creativity within youth athletic development over the years. As coaches and sports trainers it is our job to bring this back!

So how do we do this?


First of all, we need to take a hard look at the current sports and sport training climate. It would appear that things have become too serious and demanding for young athletes in the world of sports today. Kids are rapidly losing the “love of the game” and “burn out” is at an all time high. The reality is that the cause of these two scenarios usually stem from external pressures like being the best or earning a college scholarship.

As a strength and conditioning coach, rather than add to the issue, we should be finding new ways to keep the athletes engaged and entertained during training. This means thinking about drills or exercises that rely on “out of the box” thinking and activate different areas of the athlete's brain and therefore muscles. Using creative ways to train or teach the same technique or foundational skills will keep athletes engaged and focused. It also forces the athlete to think about about said skill or technique in a different way than they usually would.

Once the coach or trainer has created a workout or training that includes a creative variety of drills and exercises, the next focus should be on the overall lesson plan. Many coaches in the current youth training industry focus on a successful outcome rather than the process to get to said outcome. That means they are so focused on the end product, whether that be a college scholarship or a championship trophy, that they forget about the lessons learned during the training or practices leading up to these end goals.

Sports have long been treated as an avenue to teach hard work, respect for others, dedication and healthy competition but when the focus is simply on the need to win or be the best, many players lose those lessons and ultimately the love for the game or will to continue to compete.

In order to get back to the old-fashioned sports, coaches need to be actively engaging in a creative way. As previously mentioned, this could involve creative drills but can also include motivational speeches, discussions around life's challenges, team or community events and any other support of the athlete that is not solely focused on the game a separate end goal.

As coaches, it is our responsibility to do a variety of different things to help our athletes get excited to SHOW UP and get the most out of each training experience. We should not forget that the goal of sports is to bring kids together and teach invaluable life lessons. Healthy competition can help any individual reach deep inside to achieve their highest level of potential. However, bringing individuals together to reach a common goal and thrive to be successful is even more special. To learn more about ways to continue to be creative with youth training, follow ShowUp Fitness or sign up for our training internship where we teach various training techniques that work different muscle groups but also have a creative element to them.

Show Up Fitness Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Jimmy Dabney with Coach McVay of the Los Angeles Rams. 90% of Success is SHOWING UP

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