There was nothing worse than messing up a drill in soccer practice and hearing the coach yell “get on the line” from across the field.
It filled all of us with dread and a little bit of animosity towards whoever messed up. This is not a healthy way to think about endurance training. Exercise, especially beneficial training, shouldn’t be considered a punishment. This sets kids up to avoid these activities in the future, impacting their health and fitness long after the season is over.
If it’s not about punishment for your mistakes, whether it’s a missed drill or a donut for breakfast, then what is the purpose of training for endurance? People often think of endurance training as simply spending an hour mindlessly on the treadmill. That’s not fun, engaging, or beneficial.
The first phase of the youth performance program will be focusing on endurance. Not making it boring or a punishment from a coach, but aiming to make it beneficial and something fun that the athletes can carry with them throughout their lives.
Benefits of Endurance Training for Teens
One of the biggest reasons to train endurance is for heart health. Our hearts are muscles and they need to be exercised like all our other muscles. Having a strong heart keeps us healthy throughout our lives but also allows us to perform exercise and daily activities more efficiently.
Improved endurance therefore increases our stamina and capacity for all activity. And, due to this increased efficiency, an athlete with better endurance is able to recover faster during games and between workouts. An athlete that is still feeling strong in the fourth quarter will have an edge over one that faded out in the third.
Endurance training can also lead to better focus, better quality of sleep, less symptoms of anxiety and
depression, as well as give your athlete a sense of accomplishment. The old way of thinking about endurance makes it seem mindless and something you want to avoid (unless you’re in trouble with your coach). We want your youth athletes to notice these positive things happening to them and see that improvement as a direct result of their endurance training.
Endurance training should be fun and done with the purpose of bettering an athlete. It can be tough some days but overall the improvement the body makes will be well worth it. And because it’s tough, this provides an opportunity for your teen to become more mentally resilient and adaptable.