04 Dec Keeping Youth Physical Training Simple: It’s Easy To Execute
“Find purpose, live simply. The rest is just noise.”
This is a mantra I leaned into as soon as I turned 30. There’s something liberating about this decade of my life that propelled me to start walking around with an ‘I-don’t-give-a-crap’ air. Maybe you find it as a pretentious energy, but I find it as an empowering one.
Finding purpose and living simply is my jam now that I’m older. To say I’ve begun to live a minimalist life with little possessions, wearing the same clothes I’ve owned for ten years, and giving up alcohol, and other addictions, life is, well, easier.
I may be young in your eyes, but my mind is wandering in galaxies far, far away.
I’m an old soul, to say the least.
As I continue to grow up chronologically, I feel the growth happening spiritually, too. You see, I used to be attracted to the shiny things all humans are: more degrees, job titles, social circles, cars with loud engines, and the newest Supreme clothing.
And as a coach, I used to toss out the gimmicks and gadgets early in my career, because my clients wanted the novelty, and they were only going to hire a trainer who stood out among the masses.
At age 31, I’m over it and I look back at how superficial and complicated I was. As Notorious B.I.G. said, “mo money, mo problems.” And might I add, more things, more problems.
Life is simple, and all we need to do is pay attention to what we have thrived off for years: movement daily, long walks, loading, sunlight, adequate protein, sleep. Most of our performance answers are indeed found in the simplicity, yet sophistication of nature.
I’m sure many of you are wondering if I adopted this mindset as soon as I turned 30.
Rather, it was a gradual process that was ignited in my early 20s when I lived in Brazil as a soccer coach to kids in extreme poverty.
What I found was, life wasn’t complicated. A day involved eating mangos from the back yard, sitting in the sunlight, going for mile walks, and then playing barefoot soccer on the concrete. Rinse and repeat.
There was no Fortnite. What blue light?
No gossip. What drama?
There was no ego and chasing prestige. What degree from Johns Hopkins?
In fact, for the year I was down there, I forgot everything I had accomplished in college soccer – All American, Dean’s List, graduating a top 10 university…none of it mattered. I was just another human being in the eyes of other amazing human beings in Rio de Janeiro. There was no judgement where I came from, who I was, or what I had to show for myself.
Fast forward to today, living simply is the way to go.
And I preach it so hard to young female athletes across the globe because physical training is simple.
While you see folks on Twitter trying to reinvent the wheel and impress their followers in a giant echo chamber of outdoing one another and proving who is smarter, it’s just noise.
The coaches who impress me the most are the ones who can break down the science into practical, actionable solutions for youth coaches and players and parents. After all, aren’t those the people we’re all trying to reach? This isn’t about arguing about the science, speaking in exercise physiology jargon, nor is it about designing prettier data graphs than our peers.
It’s about keeping it simple so others can execute.
That’s about it.
So to break it down, here are a handful of key components to youth training that every coach can use now:
1. Sprint 2x a week
2. Resistance train with total body movements 2x a week
3. Sleep, eat well, meditate.
4. Do other hobbies.
5. Find purpose.
The last one stands out to me the most, and it’s one I ask new in person clients about all the time.
‘What is your purpose to train?’
If we aren’t asking our young athletes their purpose to train, and we aren’t helping them get clear on a goal far beyond wins and college recruiting, we have missed the point. Physical training is meant to get athletes better at their sport, but more critically, it’s about teaching them how to take care of their bodies for a lifetime.