Last week, I went out on a limb to try something new in my training career, and thanks to Mark Coates headed into the realm of dryland "training and conditioning" for summer hockey schools.
Now, I worked with kids for nine years as a counselor and outdoor school teacher, and I've been working as a personal trainer/strength coach for the last nine years, so I didn't head into the experience completely blind. That being said, though, this is the first time that I've combined the two.
The biggest surprise for me? Hearing what the kids do at other camps.
While I work to instill some healthy habits, quality movements and a good foundation of locomotion and stability - I shudder when some of the kids tell me that at ********** Camp, they had to do ten push-ups everytime they screwed up on the ladder. You see - I'm working with kids who, for the most part, are under ten years old.
Ten years old!! And they're doing "push-ups for punishment" when they make a mistake on something they're learning for the first time!!
Everything else aside, what bothers me most about this is the fact that they are learning to hate sports. Drill after drill, we are removing any joy they may have taken from participation and pushing them headfirst into a world of sitting on the couch and playing video games.
Please - to all parents, coaches, and trainers working with children... don't do this. Don't take the fun out of sports to try and breed the next generation of super-athletes... instead, instill a love of movement and activity in them. "How?" you might ask? Simple - let the children play.
Or, better yet...? Play with them.
Have fun out there, folks.