Top 3 Mistakes in Training Youth Athletes

Today marks the release of Mike Boyle’s newest product: Complete Youth Training

When I ran Endeavor Sports Performance, much of the way we designed our programs for youth athletes was guided by things I had learned from Coach Boyle. In short, he’s had a profound impact on how I view the training process.

This is a great resource (for coaches, sports training professionals AND parents) that addresses many of the most impactful misconceptions of training youth athletes, and how following popular advice will absolutely lead to blunted long-term performance.

Given his 25+ years of experience training kids, I asked him to put together a quick post highlighting the three most common mistakes he sees in training youth athletes. Check out the article below:

Click here for more information >> Complete Youth Training

Top 3 Mistakes in Training Youth Athletes by Mike Boyle

A friend asked me to try to sum up what I considered the top three mistakes in training young athletes, so after giving it some thought, here goes:

Mistake 1- Seeing kids as mini-adults. 

I’m amazed at how many trainers will write or email and talk about the troubles they are having getting into the youth strength training market ( think 11-14 yrs old).  I always say something along the lines of “what does your program look like” and I constantly hear back about all the latest ideas. Breathing, corrective exercises, screening etc.

My response is always the same. Kids don’t need that stuff, they need the weight room basics. Much like elementary school is about reading, writing and math, training kids is about throwing, sprinting, jumping and lifting. I love the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stu_ _ _.

Kids want to move and have fun. Breathing, screening and corrective exercises are neither fun, nor particularly useful for kids.

Mistake 2- Not Seeing That Practice Covers a Lot of Bases

I was discussing agility with Jim Kielbaso from the IYCA the other day and my comment was “we don’t do much agility.” As coaches, we have to remember that most of these kids are practicing 3-5 times a week, but get no strength work, no power work and no speed work. We need to, as I like to say, fill the empty buckets. The agility/change of direction bucket is getting filled at practice, but the strength, power and speed buckets are usually empty.

In addition, practice takes care of conditioning. I think there is no need for conditioning with kids, and that lots of what we try to do just makes kids slower.

Think speed. Read Tony Hollers Feed the Cats.

Mistake 3- Thinking that Talking is Coaching

Kids don’t want to hear you talk. I have a ten second rule. I don’t want coaches talking for more than ten seconds. I really like the John Wooden idea:

Do this, not this, this.

Show them what you want them to do, don’t tell them. Show them what not to do and then, show them the correct technique again.

Then, let them do it. Kids learn through doing, not through listening. That’s tough for coaches to hear, but it’s true.

The best teacher is a great demonstrator.  The best learning comes from doing.


Click here for more information >> Complete Youth Training

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University