“Because Youth Populations Arent Just Tiny Adults”?

Posted: July 20, 2015 by dannytwoguns in Articles, Erie Youth Conditioning and Performance

I’ve said it a couple of times on Facebook and our Erie Youth Conditioning and Performance team/staff shirts say it on the back – “Because Youth Populations Are Not Just Smaller Adults”.


As a result, I received a message asking – “What do you actually mean when you say “youth populations arent just tiny/smaller adults”?

I thought that would be a good opportunity to clarify – I’ll tell you then I’ll show you.

The absolute need for specific training for the youth population is becoming clearer and clearer. Which is a good thing. But of course, with all good things, come some not so good ones, of course.

One quick side note – youth population is generally 6-11/12 – older than 12 really isnt youth anymore as their training needs change noticeably as they reach 13, 14, 15 etc and under 6 would require an advanced attention span for that age (with that said, we have a 5 year old in our program because he can – it really just depends on that lower end). So things that market “youth training” with the top end being 14-16 is missing the mark.

Back to what we mean by the statement.

The youth population is a growing market so there are more programs popping up, but the problem with a lot of the programs is they simply take the training methodologies and modalities they use or are being used and make the youth population do them some just ineffective and some downright dangerous – but at that age they need a completely different type of training – hence youth populations need trained like youth populations because they are different than adults.


This young lady probably isnt ready for that… Not out of the realm of possibility but highly unlikely for a lot of reasons.

Some quick examples and differences…

– Both populations need strength but what strength they need is not the same. Adults need load (load of course being a relative term to the individual) to create stimulus. That stimulus for youth is movement, motor control and “core” development.

A good analogy is a Gray Cook line meant for mobility vs stability but applies here also – “You cant shoot a cannon out of a canoe” – adults should be a ship of some sort so they can and need a cannon, but youth are canoes, they do not need a canon at all, they need to build their canoe into a ship.

– Adults generally have known how to move they just dont so much anymore. Youth havent necessarily and need a lot of movement based fundamentals. Patterns and movement need to be established, not recovered. It’s completely different.

– Adults need a good amount of mobility work to get their joints and movement patterns back to optimal, because age and life has “broken them down” and speed and movement work, while not bad “end game” choices, are certainly not in their beginner or intermediate workouts. Youth populations dont need that mobility work, as sitting, inactivity, stress and “being a grown up” havent taken a toll on them yet and they do need and can sustain speed and movement work more easily and readily.

– Coordination needs to be built differently. Same as movement, adults it needs woken up and recovered, youth it needs developed.

– Attention Spans and Motivation. Adults do “adult type” training because they have the motivation and diligence to do so. They cant be bored but they cant get things done because things need to get done. Doesnt quite work like that with youth populations – they need engagement, they need competition and they need to want to pay attention, not have to.

There are other differences but those are the big rocks. So to tie in all of that with an example, we have a video of a game we call “Bucketz”. You have to points 5-10 feet on opposing sides of bucket, one bucket and one tennis ball per participant. A popular variation we use is you have to stand on one leg and throw with only the opposite hand and make as many buckets as you can in 15-30 even to 60 seconds depending.

Here’s what it looks like…

What does it do?

– Hand eye, coordination.
– Single Leg Stance Strength
– Single Leg Stance Speed or Quickness
– Building blocks for moving side to side aka stabilizing lateral movement
– Low Level Reciprocal (opposite patterns – think walking or skipping) Patterning
– Overall Speed and Quickness
– Anaerobic (think short duration) Cardiovascular training
– Easy ability to progress, get better and increase confidence

All while being uplifting, engaging, competitive and fun.

Getting our youth populations, healthy and active but most importantly, confident so they can excel in whatever it is they want to do, outside of school, inside of school, inside of sports and outside of sports.

And that is a quick look at what we mean when we snarkily say, “because youth populations arent just tiny adults”.

Thanks for reading and if you would like more information on the way we are changing the way youth fitness is done or want to join the program while the summer session is still on – Fill Out This Application and we’ll get back to you.


EYCP Squat

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