The Fitness Zone
Training youth takes patience, skill and proper planning, says Meghan Jarvis, Coach at the Australian Institute of Fitness, QLD.
The following information may assist you in developing and delivering a fun and effective training program for youth populations, as there are many differences to training adults.
When instructing youth, it the duty of the Personal Trainer to ensure all material is delivered correctly and within their scope of practice. Maintaining effective control over groups is essential, and always being set up in a safe training environment.
It is equally important to develop a good relationship with parents and communicate progressions and developments of their child’s training. From a legal perspective, when working with children under the age of 16 years, Personal Trainers are required to undertake a Working with Children Check and should be adequately insured with Professional Indemnity and Public Liability.
Here are some key things to remember when it comes to training children:
- Participate with the group when possible.
- Use the children’s names, as this will help provide a sense of belonging.
- Move down to the child’s eye level during instruction and activities.
- Empower the child, i.e., giving them the choice of the next game.
- Set boundaries with markers and ensure that there is no loose dirt, land holes, etc.
- Always do a pre-activity questionnaire with input from the parents.
- Ensure you properly manage participant files and have on hand the emergency contact lists and any specific health considerations.
Class design should be centred on a sense of fun and creativity with a goal in mind. A recommended format for a basic training lesson consists of a 10-15 minute warm-up followed by the main activity for 20-30 minutes. Allow additional time to teach and practise any new skills introduced in the training, and finish the session with a 10-minute cool down.
Children are drawn to primary colours, therefore, an investment in brightly coloured equipment will add to your sessions. A basic list of equipment could include:
- name tags
- coloured lucky dip cards
- coloured bean bags
- tennis balls
- small buckets
- hula hoops.
By incorporating the above suggestions while training children, it will help ensure that you’re providing a meaningful, fun and successful training session.
Australian Institute of Family Studies (2012). Pre-Employment Screening: Working with Children Checks and Police Checks. Australian Government, http://www.aifs.ov.au/cfca/pubs/factsheets/a141887/index.html.
Australian Sports Commission (2013). Play by the Rules. http://www.playbytherules.net.au.
Kidshealth.org and New, M (2011). Competitive Sports: Helping Kids Play it Cool. Kids Health, http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/sports_comptition.html.
Motivate to Train Pty Ltd (2012). Motivate to Train: Outdoor Fitness and Bootcamp for Kids. Canberra, Australia
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