How often should my youth athlete train?
The frequency of training for a youth athlete can vary depending on several factors, including the age of the athlete, their sport or activity, their goals, and their physical and mental readiness. Here are some general guidelines to consider when determining how often a youth athlete should train:
Age and Developmental Stage:
- Younger children (under 12 years old) should focus on fundamental movement skills, general physical fitness, and having fun. They may benefit from 1-3 training sessions per week.
- Older children (12-18 years old) can generally handle more structured training and may train 2-3 times per week, depending on the sport and their goals.
Sports Specific Demands:
- In season can be a very busy time for a student athlete with practice and games. Although it can be challenging, it is also very beneficial to prioritize in season training. Athletes can continue to see improvements in performance with as little as 1-2 sessions per week if possible during season.
- Off season provides more availability for athletes to train. Depending on other extracurricular activities and school workload, athletes can gain the most benefits from maximizing training during off season.
- Adequate rest and recovery are crucial for youth athletes to prevent overuse injuries and burnout. Ensure that there are rest days between intense training sessions and allow for extended breaks during the year.
- Consider the principles of Long-Term Athletic Development, which emphasizes age-appropriate training and skill development. LTAD models often recommend different training frequencies at various developmental stages.
- Ensure that the athlete has a balanced life that includes time for school, social activities, and rest. Avoid overloading them with too much training.
- Proper nutrition and sleep are critical for youth athletes. Ensure they are getting the nutrients and rest they need to support their growth and recovery.
Remember that the well-being of the youth athlete is of utmost importance. Safety, enjoyment, and balanced development should be the guiding principles. Tailor the training frequency to the individual and monitor their progress and well-being throughout their athletic journey.
Our coaches at The Athlete Factory are well equipped to recognize and educate parents on what training frequency and program can be best suited for their athlete. We begin each training journey with a multifaceted assessment to ensure our athletes are where they need to be, and we continue to monitor progress to ensure not just success but also to avoid plateau and burnout.
Visit us at www.cwscperformance.com or call/text us at 407-476-5862 to learn more and to register for a FREE trial class to come see what we're all about.