By Jane Bernhard, Certified Energetic Juniors Trainer
“My 9 year old loves sports and has great hand eye coordination, but he is slow and has a weak core which impacts posture. I am looking for a personal trainer for him to improve his core and his speed.” ~An inquiring parent
That’s awesome that he loves sports! Doing core work and focusing on proper form in exercises will certainly improve his posture, overall strength, and running capabilities. Having a strong foundation and proper form when exercising is extremely important and it’s always good to focus on form first and then speed.
Building the Foundation
I strive to make all of my workouts fun to keep the child engaged, and make sure we are working from a strong foundation first. Having a natural coordination is a great place to start, and doing stability exercises will only improve his coordination. Once he is able to perform body weight exercises and running exercises with proper form and a full body awareness (always being aware of the core and body in position to space) then it is good to introduce agility training exercises that are specific to the sport he is interested in. I love mixing in cardio and agility workouts with strength training.
How Cross Training Helps
I grew up playing on a travel soccer team for over 10 years, and found it incredibly helpful to have trainers that split up sessions working on body weight exercises like lunges, push-ups, abdominal exercises, and then bringing that strong foundation and awareness to the field. It helped me get more power on my shots, more height on my jumps, increased my speed, and prevented me from having injuries. It also helps a child feel strong and more prepared to build on speed. I strive to give my clients the same experience I had and meet them where they are at athletically, always working in a safe and fun manner but with their goals in mind.
The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Training
Every sport is different and requires different challenges and agility requirements, and I train every athlete differently depending on their needs. Having a strong core certainly improves posture, which in turn improves a child’s self-esteem and the way they think about the game, themselves, and their relationship to their team. I always want my clients to leave feeling proud of themselves and good about the work they do.
I think sports training has a long term impact on a child’s confidence and have seen through my own personal experience and from client experiences that the benefits of sports training reach far beyond the field. They help build a confidence in oneself that teaches kids how to be on a team, gives them a healthy body image, and a positive achievement mindset.
Jane is an ACE-Certified Youth Fitness Specialist with a background in teaching sports-specific skills.
(View her certificate here: Jane B.ACE-Course-Completion (2))