13 Principles of Endurance Training for Young Athletes (And You)

  I am currently half-way through Children and Sports Training by Drabik and I will continue to recommend it to those training young athletes ranging in the ages of 8-12.  In page 104 he listed 13 principle to endurance training that seems to apply to not only young athletes but our general clients. 

Here they are in order…

1. Begin endurance training with general aerobic endurance. 

  • After reading Joel Jamieson’s Ultimate MMA Conditioning, (which was an eye opener to conditioning protocols) we understand that a good aerobic base increases the anaerobic threshold which allows us to rely more on aerobic sources of energy so that we don’t gas out early in games.

2. Train year-round, with seasonal changes of means of training

Young athletes should not be specializing in sports, they should have fun and play various sports or be involved in different enjoyable activities that promote moving which will create a bigger “store” for their movement skills


You think doing the same thing gets old for us..think of young athletes mindset with the same monotonous training or sport

3. Get in shape gradually

  • Learning movements and basic lifting technique goes a long way in training novice lifters, inexperienced athletes, or the general client.  It also goes a long way in improving strength, speed, power, agility etc… You should not be crushing people every time they train ..it’s that simple

4. Maintain training regimen

  • Be consistent, results occur with consistent practice

5. Teach children to listen to their body

  • With any athlete make sure they tell you if an exercise causes pain, if they got banged up recently during a game.  Always ask questions about the day and how they are doing

6. Increase the volume (duration) of the exercises first; do not rush to increase their intensity

  • In this book they talk about monitoring intensity by heart rate.  The higher the heart rate means they are working at a higher intensity.  It is more important for young athletes to train at medium level than it is to go all out.  I think most people could take a lesson from that too (see #3). 

    Kids and most athletes for that matter do not need to be doing tabata esque intervals

7. Leave enough energy for the child’s healthy growing and maturing

  • No one cares how much you know until the know how much you care..treat athletes the same

8. Vary the conditions of training

  • Have progressions or fun things to do so that training does not become monotonous.  If you can train outside, do it..it is more fun than you think.  If you run, run a trail or walk the park instead of the same walk through your development everyday

9. Divert attention from fatigue

  • Can be same attained by #8

10.Take advantage of the sensitive periods in an individual’s development of endurance

  • When the sensitive period of endurance training is present..take advantage of it because it will allow the child to have higher levels when they are older  (This is primarily what our U-12 program is about at Endeavor. Check it out here)

11. Incorporate cycles of loading, peaking, and recovery in the training

  • Whatever the goal is, continually increasing the intensity will lead to overtraining or a plateau effect.  Have deload weeks, higher volume or higher intensity weeks.  Realize that you cannot keeping adding sets upon sets every week.  Learn to increase intensity for a few weeks, then back off for a week and repeat.  Easy Strength taught me a lot about this.

12. Train the mind and body simultaneously

  • Learn to be disciplined, to work hard, and stay committed

13. Keep sport in its proper place

  • Very few will make a living playing sports, and very few will be able to do nothing else.  Don’t neglect your education and your health.  A lot of bad can come from overdoing sports (injuries: soft-tissue or internally, and bad posture).  These can last a lifetime



Categories: Core Training, Injury Prevention, Recommended Resources, Strength Training

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2 replies

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