The vast majority of sports training gyms across the country do not serve you or your child at the highest level possible. I do not think any of them are doing this on purpose. But most people on any subject don’t know what they don’t know. In this case coaches are unaware of their blind spots. Yes, I will admit I have my own blind spots too. That’s why I am a voracious reader, hire mentors and attend events. I know I must consciously upgrade myself and personality to continue to empower people at the highest level.
With that being said let’s look at blind spots in training from coaches. First, kids like to be pushed. They actually crave discipline and pushing the boundaries of their comfort zone. No matter their age they subconsciously like to see new possibilities.
This is done the same way with an 8 year old or a high schooler. I know there is so much chatter out there to ONLY make it fun or playful with 8 year olds during training. Yet in my experience you can accomplish both with this age group. It’s not an either/or statement. It’s not “fun” or “pushing limitations”. Rather it’s “fun” AND “pushing limitations”…
Phone calls from parents come in on a weekly basis where they have tried out sports training gyms and it’s basically like they are paying for recess. There are several reasons why gyms do this but I think one of the biggest reasons is fear of losing kids and parents. That if they make it too “intense” that they will not want to come back.
Real Coaches Training
Yet, if you are truly a great coach you know that you can incorporate both. For me that’s through my personality. I know that I can demand excellence from them during training, push their comfort zones but make it fun through my personality…
If you understand people you know people love talking about themselves. So while they are training I get them to talk about things they enjoy or funny/playful things in their lives.
Let’s be clear too that when I say training, yes those 10 year olds are lifting weights and building strength just like the high schoolers through modified variations.
So yes they train similarly but when you create the right environment with the right personality you get both great training and cheerfulness at the same time!
The Right Coaches Framework
Most coaches do not know how to communicate effectively with their athletes either! People wonder how this is even possible. Because the question always comes up that what about when kids get upset or doubt themselves when it gets hard.
If you are a GREAT mentor then you know how to meet them on their level to understand what is going on. For me, especially when young kids are just starting out and I can see they are struggling physically and mentally during their training I pull them aside and have a conversation like:
“Hey, I know you think this is tough right now, but my job is NOT to set you up for failure. My job is to guide you for YOU to see what you are capable of. I will not give you something that you can’t do. It’s for you to see all your superpowers because you’re a superstar.”
When you can communicate on their level and they know you are not out to get them then they take control of their potential!
Because there are those coaches on the other end of the spectrum that live with an ego and try to show kids how tough their program is. They base everything off how sore kids get or how difficult they can make conditioning. Which does not serve anyone.
So being super polar as a coach benefits no one. There is the too nice coach who fears running kids off to the drill instructor that lives with the no fun mentality. Rather find the sweet spot that serves the kids at the highest level.
No Weight Training or Light Weights
I could write 30 pages on this topic but the reality is kids should be lifting weights. It’s relative to what their current strength level is. To me it’s like saying you refuse to give your kid higher level reading books because of their age. That you would hold them back to acquire knowledge and wisdom based on their age.
For instance, if you refuse to allow your child to pick up a 10lb dumbbell then I am telling you that your child should not be carrying the groceries in or the trash outside either.
If they can’t push a weighted prowler then they are not allowed to be pushing the mower to cut the grass… Just sayin!
I even see it with middle schoolers, when they come here that they are only allowed to lift a 25lb bar or PVC pipe at school. Yeah, kids do need to learn techniques on how to lift but at some point it’s time to build strength. And everyone’s point is different…
Then this is what really fires me up…These same freakin coaches and schools try to threaten kids about going to get outside training. They threaten playing time etc that they should NOT be going to any outside training gym because they get everything they need at school.
So I will just be blunt about it. YOU (schools and coaches) are doing your kids a disservice! Those same people are holding kids back from growth and reaching their true potential!
Rant over on that topic but the purpose is most gyms and schools are not building REAL STRENGTH for your child.
Outside Training Consequences
The goal for this was to more touch on the physical training aspects. That most gyms are being too nice or overboard with kids in their training. You want to find the right place that is going to push your child’s comfort zone regardless of age and at the same time make it fun for them.
For instance, there is a 4th grader who has been coming here for over a year now. A few weeks ago he showed up for training. It was a heavier lift day for him. He was struggling. I knew he could handle it but I had to shift where his mind currently was…
So it was Valentine’s day and I asked him if he had a hot date tonight or gave any cute girls in his class some candy. He proceeded to tell me a story for the next 30 minutes about how 2 girls in his class gave him valentines cards. Inside those cards they both asked him out and to check “yes”, “no” or “maybe” and how he checked “no” on both! Haha!
All I had to do was prompt a conversation about him and HE was able to shift his mind. Get his training done while laughing about his day!
Then this does NOT factor in the mental aspects of how gyms are failing you as a parent and ultimately the long term health of your child! Because that’s the foundation of the gym here. It’s all about creating the identity you desire.
Identity is the most powerful force as a human being. Because if you don’t know yourself you can’t truly know anything!
Decide what you want and go get it!