The FIVE S’es. Speed. Strength. Stamina. Suppleness. Skill.
That’s what I read about when I was a kid growing up playing footy/cricket/athletics on the weekend and (day) dreaming of playing football for WA against Victoria/cricket for Australia vs the West Indies. I 100% bought into the “5 ‘S’es” from that book – I can’t tell you what the book was called but I can tell you about the 5 “S’es” all day long. I had a footy that I constantly had in my hands (skill), athletics books that told me what sprint drills to do (speed)…and my Dad’s ‘chest expander’ and ‘bull worker’ (we didn’t have weights in the 1980s, we had GADGETS!) to help me get stronger. Stamina? It was the 1980s…I went for a jog around ‘the block’! Suppleness? Again, it was the 1980s…so I sat on the ground and stretched my hamstrings and quads just like they taught me at PCYC Gymnastics!
(Side note: Eventually grew a bit tired of getting my skin ‘pinched’ in the springs of the ‘chest expander’ and I saved up and bought some dumbbells from K-Mart (the type where the weights ‘screw on’ to the handles!) and I can still remember lugging them the 4km home in the box they came in. Fun times.)
I have been hearing a modern variation on the same story from modern day parents for a long time now as well – both in the gym and at games where I have been attending to watch my own kids play. You know, the story where the game was lost because they weren’t ‘fit enough’ to run the game out in the last quarter…so ‘next season’ they are going to start doing ‘pre-season’ earlier and even do some ‘beach sessions’. Because that’s what the hard-arse coaches they had when they were kids made them do! Or the fact that they need to do some ‘strength work’ because they ‘have all the skill in the world’ but get ‘pushed off the ball too easily’. Insert whatever sport name you like here – netball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, soccer….the story seems the same. So what is the answer?
Yes – skill is sport specific. But movement, athleticism and ‘field/court sense’ is not. Put your kid in as many ‘invasion game’ type situations as you can – playing basketball will help their football (and vice versa). You want your kids to train as ATHLETES – their athleticism and game-sense developed on multiple sporting fields will hold them in good sense when they eventually specialise (sometime around 16/17 years of age things usually get a bit serious and they will need to ‘make a decision’.)
Caveat #1. If your kid is in the elite talent pathway for a sport, well, you need to worry a little bit. But honestly for most kids endurance is not that big a deal. Going out for ‘runs’ or doing heaps of repeat sprints or other such things? Well…ultimately that is just going to lead to overuse injuries and fatigue – doing some ‘real’ speed work/drills is going to have a larger long-term benefit than running for 20minutes for most 12-15year olds. And if you are worried about those ‘last quarter fade-outs’ that seem to start off so many conversations I have with parents, well…if your kid and their team-mates could/would make better decisions with the ball/better execute the skills of the game, they wouldn’t need to be fitter (because THEY would be the team with the ball!).
Do they need to do ‘some’ work on their endurance? Sure. A BIT. As an example of what I mean by ‘A BIT’, the longest cardio block we do in the Developing Athletes Program is 8-minutes long and that is HEAPS of time (particularly if you keep on them about intensity).
You don’t need to do anything amazing here. If they can do some squats and hip hinge variations (you know, deadlifts, kettlebell swings), some pressing (both horizontal AND vertical) and some pulling movements (again, both horizontal AND vertical) mixed in together with some core stabilisation that is going to cover pretty much all bases. They don’t need to be able to set the world age record for a back squat or power-clean. They DO need to be able to perform simple squats and deadlifts with flat back and repeatable technique.
Is this all sort of like a glorified advertisement for our Developing Athletes Program? Well, of course it is. Because it is an AWESOME PROGRAM and I want every kid out there to benefit from the work we are doing!!! If you want your kids to be set up for success in whatever sport they are doing, a program like DAP (EXACTLY like DAP ! 🙂 ) is just the thing. They will do some fundamental strength work – simple lifts targeted at increasing base level strength – together with some core work and some sprint technique drills. They will LEARN what it means to ‘TRAIN’ (and that will help them as much as anything else does in the future) and do it in a fun environment (well, to be fair the first 2-3 sessions usually aren’t that much fun for them!) with other kids their age with similar goals/drive to themselves.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on the program and to talk about how it can benefit you!
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