Thursday, 5 August 2021

Published Thursday, August 05, 2021 with 11 comments

13 Woes – How to Effectively Help Teen Players Sail Through

Coach Eddie Brown has been coaching football to elementary school kids for 17 years. He has seen not one, but several examples of kids becoming regressive as they hit puberty. The attitude of young athletes changes as they enter middle school, and by the time they reach high school, a lot of kids leave sports. As per a report published by National Alliance for youth sports, over 70 percent pf kids training in youth sports stop participating in organized sports by the age of 13.

Coaches who start training sports to kids from elementary school, go through the puberty woes themselves”, says Brown. “It is frustrating when a promising athlete quits because as a coach you are invested in each kid who trains with you, and when a good player quits, he takes a part of you”, he adds.

The mistake most coaches make is treat this problem as dearth of seriousness or missing focus. While it may seem like sheer laxness or clumsiness, it is actually hormonal. During the transitionary years, from 11 to 14, the child is going through major physiological, psychological and biological changes. We all know this, but when it comes to problems related to this age, we attribute them to laxity or heedlessness. When we as adults start acknowledging the obvious, kids would also find a way to channelize their morphing energies.

For instance, when kids train for sports, their mind muscle connection is set. When an accelerated growth takes place, especially in their lower and upper limbs, the mind-muscle connection weakens. To get the level of motor range that is required by an athlete, the brain would need to re-establish neuromotricity, which does not necessarily happen at the same speed as physical growth. This means that if the players are not playing to expectations, or are not being able to match their own performance, it’s not because they don’t want to, it’s because they can’t. Well, in most cases it is. Coaches, parents and other adults involved in the training also need to consider the fact that this loss of performance level can be frustrating for the child too.

If the child is really interested in playing, then the concerned adults should consider professional ways of helping the kid get through this phase. Psychological counselling and guided physiotherapy have proven to be highly beneficial. At this stage, muscle strengthening becomes paramount. The training should be focused on muscle strength and range of motion.

Diet also plays an important role. The nutrient requirement of the body increases. Preferably, a nutritionist or team coach should give individual diet charts for each player.

Lastly, it’s important that all details are noted down. Each week players must record their height, weight and vital stats. This information should be maintained in a chart which will come in handy for professionals like the physiotherapist, the dietician, the coach etc.

Entering teenage is a delicate time for kids. While some may decide that they are no longer interested in continuing sports, there would be others who would be willing but struggling to keep up. In either case, coaches and parents need to help the child understand what they actually want and help them tide over the troubled waters.

We at InstaTeam are happy to help with any team issues. Our experts have varied experiences of managing different aspects of youth sports.

If you haven’t already, download InstaTeam for easy and efficient management of teams. InstaTeam is one of the fastest growing sports team management app that is trusted by thousands of youth sports teams and other teams for automated, non-intrusive and extremely handy team communication and coordination.



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