My son is somewhat naturally gifted in his sprint speed. He’s eleven and won our City’s 100m track and field meet. He’s one of the fastest skaters and always has been since he was 6yrs old. My question is – when should his natural talents be “exploited” or more appropriately, further developed? Or, should his normal daily activities suffice for the time being?
It depends what his normal daily activities are. If it includes a lot of running, jumping etc. (like playing different games) it should be enough for the time. But the most important thing is to keep it as unstructured as possible, i.e. variety is the key. If he starts structural training for track and field (or any other sport) he shouldn’t stop doing his other activities. At the age of 11 he should be moving almost constantly to develope his musculoskeletal functions. Try to limit his “off time” like watching TV or playing video games.
Develop his running technique. Do some technique sessions BUT don’t make it too boring or too structured, and don’t teach him what you think is correct technique do your research and find out how to. You can start doing some med ball work with say a 1.25-2 kg ball. I agree with the above comments.
You can even do sprint training over very short distances, his body will not produce lactate because he PROBABLY has n’t developed the enzymes for that process yet. Limit the amount of aerobic continuous work as he is at an age where his CNS will acquire negative adaptations if stimulated inappropriately. Also at his age your son’s body will not be as efficient at cooling itself down as an adults so be careful not to do too much volume work. Do sessions where he learns to react from positions that allow triple extension. He can do press-ups and sit-ups, chin-ups and unloaded squats very well eventually and better than most adults as his power-to-weight ratio will be very high. The frequency of training should also be controlled and minimise too much repitition as repetitive actions of the same type exercises can affect the growth plates at the end of his bones.
natural ability will always shine.my advice from a mechanical side would be concerning the coaching up to this point.what i mean is that all movements should be near perfect at this stage unless bad coaching has messed up he natural movements.we have agreed in the past that sprinting is a natural movment from a very early age which is 100% true but bad coaching can disrupt this pattern.
sp troop i would address mechanical issues now(if there are any) when its easy for the kid to do so at this age as they can adjust very very easily indeed.if mechanically the kid is sound i would just let him/her run without thought and for fun with relaxation and rythem.keep distances short and let the movments be natural.do this and you’ll create a fantanstic foundation for your kid to excel in the teenage years.do these little things now and rewards will happen trust me!