Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I have been reading a lot lately about trainers and their clientel... What I find very interesting, is how so many people differ on how young to start a youth athlete. What is the right age to start weight training?

I think there are a lot of factors that go into this equation... Ready?!.

Here goes my two cents...
First, who are your target clients and can you sustain your business with them?

Second, if you are targetting youth athletes, how young are you looking to train?

Third, do you have a specific routine you follow for this type of athlete?

Fourth, do you plan on training these specific clients at certain times only?

Fifth, what atmosphere are you trying to create at Your Facility?

Let me expand. If your target is youths, then what ages are you considering? 7, 8, 9 yrs. old? What can you do with them? Speed Work, Agility, Plyos? Do you have a specific business plan and marketing plan to target this group of kids?

Some parents are very gungho about making their child the next A-Rod or Mia Hamm, but are they realistic? Can you reach their goals on a limited schedule?
They would rather pay you a fee to better there childs abilities, then take there chances on natural selection. So, can you come thru with these expectations?
Come on we've all seen some Coaches only play their child at pivotal positions on a team, not because their child is the best but because it's their child.

What qualifies you to train a 7 year old, on the exercises you are putting them thru? Will these exercises actually make them better? I'm not sure what to do with a 7 year old, let alone do I even want to try.

Having a gym full of 7-9 year olds, won't draw in any true Athletes to your gym. Trust me on this one! I definitely don't want my MMA guys training in the same gym with a 3rd grader. I'm not sure, but I would bet most parents wouldn't either.

I've seen gyms in my area try and cater to everyone in the family, not like a corporate gym. They try and section off the gym in order to have the whole family train at once in different areas. I have yet to see it work?

Can and should kids train with weights and other objects? Sure, is it neccessary? Don't think so. Will it make a big difference in how they play their sport? Maybe?

I personally don't accept any youths under 13 years old, occassionally I will accept a 12 year old. But they need to be very coordinated and show a level of maturity that will add to the atmosphere of the group training.
Don't get me wrong, I love training youth athletes! There are an amazing group of kids that roll thru our doors, and they are making tremendous gains in their strength and athleticism, which is carrying over in to their respected sports.
I choose not to take very young athletes, Why? Because it doesn't serve two purposes... First, they won't add to the Intensity of the gym and how much can an 8 year old do in my facility besides agility drills? Second, they may deter some Serious athletes from joining my gym. I do not run a day care service, I want to train athletes that want to train hard and fast.

Usually my clients have a Goal in mind, when they walk in to our facility. Whatever it may be, that is what we train for and towards. A child that is still learning how to tie their shoes is not to going to add to our atmosphere. If you are still reading this, you probably have a good grasp on your client base and who you like and don't like training.
Find your niche, and go 100% towards it...don't focus on the money.




Tony Falaro said...

Very good post! My youngest client just turned 15. It's a tough line to walk, not only with the kids, but with the parents, as well. I'm pretty confident in my ability to construct a sound program, but its just a little bit different with younger kids. I actually just posted a video of our 15 year old flipping a tire. Again, your last few posts have been awesome, man!

Mike Rojas said...

Thanks T, I appreciate the feedback and the encouragement!