9 Things to Focus on When Developing a Youth Weightlifter
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Your child takes the platform, all you are focused on is winning that national title, collecting those medals, making that sweet post on Facebook and bragging about the accomplishments of your offspring. Is this really all we should be focused on with weightlifting? Is bringing home those titles at 13 the key to long term development or is there more behind the scenes? Find out the nine top aspects behind youth training that we focus on today!
The strongest lifters in the world are also the best technical lifters. Developing sufficient technique is more important than anything on this list. When starting with a youth lifter technique should be easy to teach. Kids brains are so pliable and they should listen to anything you tell them to do. Making it very easy to create an exact technical model you want.
Youth lifters need to be taught commitment if they have dreams of being a good weightlifter. They have to realize that it takes a lot of time and practice to get good. Committing to something is very hard to do, especially at a young age. They need to realize that a lot of bad and good days are going to come out of this. Committing to weightlifting won't only help in sports, but it will help them in life for the future.
3. Simple Strength:
Simple strength movements are very important for growth and development. Snatch, Clean and jerk, Back squat, and front squat are the best simple strength movements for legs. Bench, Pull ups, and rows are great for the upper body. You have to develop the primary movers before you can develop the secondary movers.
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Holding your youth athletes accountable at the start is very important. They need to learn not to skip reps and sets, they need to learn about missing and also need to learn about making. Teaching a young weightlifter accountability can be very difficult. Excuses should not be made at a young age for why they can not do something. Teach them proper lifting educate and how to take care of the equipment.
Being mobile is very important. Without proper mobility lifters will not be able to hit certain positions, making weightlifter very difficult. Proper ankle mobility and shoulder mobility is key in successful weight lifting. The more mobility you have the better positions you can hit. Teach the youth about warm up stretches and proper recovery technique as in yoga to help with mobility further.
6. Knowledge of the Sport:
Educate your young athlete with greats from the sport and sport history. Show them good examples of Pyrros and Vardanian so they can get obsessed with the sport and have idols in it. Teach them about how to fail properly and all the rules behind it. This is help them connect to the sport better.
Checkout Kyle Martin Jr. (13) and Devin Welker (14) at the American Open Series 1!
Nutrition is one of the biggest part of developing a youth athlete. Being knowledgeable about proper nutrition is very important in general health and performance. The better fuel you put into your body the better it will perform. There will be a time in a weightlifters career where they will need to cut weight for a competition. Without proper knowledge of nutrition it will make a weight cut very hard and stressful for the body.
Weightlifting needs to be safe, and it is very important to practice safety when training. When starting a youth athlete make sure they understand bar safety and how to fail properly. This will help prevent injuries and and other events that can scare off a lifter. Make sure they are also aware of their surroundings. We have 13 platforms that are constantly filled during training. They need to learn not to walk in front of lifters and to always be aware of what is happening around them.
9. Make it Fun:
Be sure to make the sport fun. Celebrate a personal record and let them know that progress is being made. Get them apart of any team activities that occur to make them feel apart of a team. Cheering someone on (especially young lifters) in training will go a long way. Let them understand the excitement that occurs when a big lift is made and teach them the feeling of accomplishing a short term and long term goal.
At Garage Strength, we have been developing youth athletes since the gym started. We have tested over 100 different ways to develop them and came up with these 9 to ALWAYS use. With over a dozen Youth National champions under our belt, you can lean on us for all you need to know about youth development!
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