Here Are 3 Secrets To Making Your Youth Athlete Faster

Franco Gomez Athletic Development, Training Secrets, Youth Athlete Leave a Comment

Most strength and conditioning coaches will tell you that the most asked question in their careers is,

“can you make my son or daughter faster?”

The truth is, we can… unfortunately it’s never what the parent expects because in about 4 weeks or so I get the second question, 

“Why haven’t you done all that quickness stuff?” or my favorite, “Why don’t you use ladders?”

The truth is that after most assessments I need to break down this young athletes’ movement deficiencies. I have to assess if there are any asymmetries and where the compensation lies. I have to also have a look at their strengths, to see where I can compliment them while still addressing their weaknesses.

This puts me in a position to put together the right program that can be modified as they progress. Although it’s not rocket science, it’s still science. But you didn’t come to read this to hear me ramble, so here are 3 secrets to making your youth athlete faster. Oh, and, it’s not sexy…

Secret #1 – The Right Training Program

I know, but I told you it wasn’t sexy, but it is common sense. Before we start, there is a caveat to be considered, and that is in-season and off-season training. In most sports today unfortunately there is no difference, there is a blended year and that is a travesty; I’ll leave that for another Blog. 

The right training program at its most generic needs to consider 6 simple factors for it to be a complete template to work from:

  • The age and assessment of your youth athlete
  • Movement, mobility, and injury prevention/preparation 
  • Strength training, Power training, Speed training dependent on training phase, training age of youth athlete, and the sport specific season
  • Energy system training, a.k.a. Conditioning 
  • Recovery protocols and education

Simple right? Well, to you maybe not, but for many of us this is training programs 101. Do you want to know what the best program for your athlete sitting at the dinner table is?

The answer is, “I don’t know!” 

I have to meet them, I have to assess them, I have to know their sport and position, and I have to know their training history so that I can work on their future.

Secret #2 – A Multi-sport Athlete

I can’t speak enough about this. The proof is in the pudding and for many reasons. Let’s start with an example sport. The highest demand for change of directions in a sport is Basketball.

The force production in all directions as well as jump training, basketball is king. Next comes field sports, such as soccer, Lacrosse, field hockey and football. 

So imagine your young hockey player finishes a season and wants to join any of these sports for the summer, imagine what their athletic I.Q. would increase to yearly. This would also help many other ways such as:

  • Improved athletic intelligence and ability to critically think in pressure situations
  • Improved joint proprioception, joint strength and overall muscularity
  • Improved fast twitch response to speed and power
  • Improved energy system response to demands of the sport

Therefore, a much smarter, stronger, and faster youth athlete who loves to play hockey when it’s time to lace up the skates! 

Secret #3 – A Strong Motherf@#$&n core!

Sorry for the expletive, but somethings need to be accentuated!

Core strength is one of the fundamental strengths for speed. For example, take a sprinter; have you ever seen an overweight sprinter?

I think not. I see a sprinter with their shirts off, and I swear I see teeth on their abdominals! You can scrub your shirts on them.

If your child fails to change directions fast enough, or get off the line fast enough, or simply lack that potential drive or start, then they might be missing a key ingredient to speed, and that’s a strong core structure.

And NO! I didn’t say abs! 

Just because your child has a six-pack, does not mean they can move quickly. An old friend of mine never had a six pack from what I recalled. But he was the only head banger in the 80s’ kicking ass in the hundred meters! 

So no, I’ve always told my clients and youth athletes alike, your core is from your shoulders to your butt. The trunk of your body has to be trained consistently and in accordance to a program that caters to the aforementioned.

To understand your core, you need to change the language and call it your pillar strength. 

To understand your core, you need to change the language and call it your pillar strength. 

A year of training with me and I’ve had hockey players who look quite unassuming, tell me that much larger players have bounced off of them. This also goes for my Rugby, Football, and Soccer players (yes, they get bumped too).

Some people might tell you that the foundation of the human body is their legs. 

Then I ask you this, “If you take an athletes legs away, do they cease to be athletes?”

Their core strength is what will keep them moving forward in performance and in life.

In Summary

So, you want your youth athletes to be faster? Well, let me ask you this, do they need to be faster, or are they fast enough? Better yet, what if they’re late bloomers and all you did was a disservice to them by pushing something that was slowly developing, and instead ended up injured or worse, just quit playing all together.

Maybe we’ve professionalized and adultified and taken youth sports away from the kids to suit our own self interests. 

Maybe this is why we’ve created a parent proclivity to act like one another, “I got my kids into every soccer camp this year.” I guess I better get on the ball if I’m going to raise the next Pele!  

You want faster kids, then let them play, let them have fun, and let them enjoy their summers outside. Don’t trash talk their game performance because, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” 

When they’re ready to take a sport seriously and are looking to maybe get a bump forward to possibly make it to college, then you can bring them to me, or any other coach worth their salt.

Instead of trying to make your kid faster, maybe you should slow down.

Until next time, stay healthy my friends…

P.S. If in these still very interesting times, you find yourself lost when it comes to your young athletes or your very own training and are wondering what you can do to solve this issue. Here are a few ways I know I can help!

  1. Hybrid Training – The GYM is finally, slowly opening and of course, under COVID protocols. The Hybrid system is working great and I offer with it an open gym pass membership where you combine one day of coaching with 2 more days of online coaching that can be trained within the facility. This is an excellent cost effective choice that merges online training with personal training, and your first 2-weeks are on me. If this is something that interests you, please put ‘Hybrid’ in the subject line.   
  2. Online Coaching – Try a month of online coaching for $1. No strings attached. After a phone assessment to see if we’re a good fit for each other, the equipment you have or need, I can get you started on a 4 week program that you will do on your own in the comfort of your own home. All exercises come hyperlinked with short videos for your viewing education, and weekly chats or texts  in regards to your program progress. If this is something that fits with your day and time then just write ‘Online” in the subject line.
  3. Virtual Training – For those that are fans of personal training and are missing the gym, I am positive I can help. It’s even better now, your time slot is not one that you have to hurry to anymore. Book your time and your session starts straight away! You will still receive a program with hyperlinked videos for days you can’t make it and for your own viewing education. If this interests you, please put ‘Virtual’ in the subject line.

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