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3 Strategies to Help Your Child Become a Better Athlete

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3 Strategies to Help Your Child Become a Better Athlete

As parents of youth athletes, it's important to understand the mindset and habits that can set your child up for the long-term success in sports. While natural talent and genetics certainly play a role, work and daily habits are just as crucial. However, it's also important to ensure that your child's work is guided and not exhausting.

1.  Using a Training Log:

Keeping a training log can help young athletes track their progress over time, identify areas which they need to improve, and make adjustments to their training program. This can be done through a dairy, notebook, or apps such as MyFitnessPal, Strava and Sleep Cycle. By reviewing their training regularly, your child can set realistic goals and measure their progress towards achieving them.

For example, if they want to improve their running speed, they can track their running times and distance each week, and aim to beat their previous records.

2.  Asking for Feedback:

Encouraging your child to ask for feedback from their coach or trainer can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses, and develop a clear plan for improvement. This can be done through regular meetings with their coach or by asking for specific feedback after a game or training session. It's important to teach your child that feedback is not personal and is a valuable tool for self-improvement.

3.  Setting Mini-Goals:

Setting short-term goals that are based on the last game or training session can help your child stay motivated and see progress. These goals can be session-to-session or weekly, and should be specific, measurable and achievable.

For example, your child can set a goal to beat their pervious personal best in a certain exercise, or to score a certain number of points in a game. Achieving these mini-goals can help your child build confidence and momentum towards achieving the larger goal.

As parents, you can support your child by helping them create a training log, encouraging them to ask for feedback, and helping them set mini-goals. You can also check in with them regularly to see how they're progressing and offer guidance and support when needed.

In addition to these strategies, it is important to emphasise the importance of rest and recovery for young athletes. Overworking and not getting enough rest can lead to fatigue, injury and burnout. Encourage your child to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and take regular breaks from training to rest and recover.

At Inner Athlete we have been implementing these strategies with some of our high-level swimmers to see if having a specific goal for each session can lead to prolonged improvement. The athletes who have incorporated these strategies have seen great success. By using a mixture of the strategies mentioned above and their own specific tools they've found that each session has a clear focus.

Working in conjunction with their coaches, a goal is written on a piece of paper and placed on their water bottle where they can be constantly reminded of it during the session. Whether or not those goals were achieved, they are written down and tracked and then set as goals for the next session. This has been a great tool in progressing technique work from week to week, and a great motivation tool as they can clearly see their progression over time.

For more information on strength and conditioning for youth athletes and increasing your sports performance, check out our website and podcast (also available on Spotify and YouTube!).

Matt Hucul
Strength and Conditioning Coach
Inner Athlete - Bayside's premium strength and conditioning coaching for youth athletes

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