One of my passions is working with young athletes be it strength and conditioning or Olympic weightlifting. I believe kids are where we start to develop young stars. An athlete that starts at a very young age with proper strength and conditioning training can go into any sport they want with a good skill and strength base regardless of gender.
I have been working with young athletes for the last 11 years and guiding them into a program with good form and proper motivational coaching. I have been an Elite athlete for the last 20 years and I have been a 6 x World Champion in karate, 3rd Dan Black belt and a CrossFit games athlete as well as an Olympic weightlifter competing internationally for the last 15 years. I have competed at 3 Commonwealth games, world champs and held the youth Commonwealth record. I think I can safely say weight training is in my blood as I got the passion from my dad. He started me at an age of 12 in order to increase my speed and explosive power. Later on, started coaching young athletes and teaching youngsters what I have learned from years and years of coaching from some of the best international coaches in the world.
Many questions get asked when youngsters undergo strength and conditioning training and these are some of the questions I would like to give some feedback on in order to give you a good base of knowledge when getting your child into this sort of training.
Is weight training safe for a youngster? Yes, it is. As long as your child is doing it with proper form, a qualified coach and not going too heavy. Strength training increases bone density and this will make him/her develop into a strong well-rounded athlete.
At what age can my kid start training? At any age, your child can start training with most countries starting youth athletes around the age of 6. With a young athlete, you work purely on form and skill development. As he/she gets older and stronger the number of exercises and loading will slowly increase.
Does Olympic lifting make me slow? NO WAY! It makes you fast and explosive (if you do the lifts properly and use the correct muscles) and trains the fast twitch fibers.
Always make training fun for these youngsters and keep them motivated. Keep them coming back. GO BACK TO BASICS. This is where it all starts. Teach them proper technique when they are young and their nervous systems will develop in such a way that the skill can be mastered. Remember each person is different. There is no one technique. You have to look at the child’s skill level, flexibility, strengths and weaknesses. These are all components that make a good coach.
Look after the youth athletes as they are the building blocks of this world. Do not be scared to get your child into a youth program. Do make sure the coach is qualified. Do not let this time slide. You have a chance now to make a change in your child’s development, physical and psychological.
Follow my journey as a Coach and Athlete @Powerfulpretorius on Instagram. For more information regarding Coaching, Programming or athletic performance email me at email@example.com