I Will Not Kill Your Kids

I would say nine times out of ten when parents or teams come in interested in Dryland training they have something different in mind than we do. At least right off the bat anyways…

They see the sexy commercials with professional athletes drenched in sweat (or glycerine) doing squats on a ball or something for the theatrics of the commercial so you think you need “that shoe” to be able to perform like that athlete. Parents always say “My kid needs to be more powerful” or “My kid needs to be explosive” in their sport. Most parents don’t understand that intensity and getting more powerful and explosive takes time, training, and above all proper mechanics. This would be like getting your child to do sprints on the ice before they even learned how to skate. Intensity is a privilege not a right…

To have more power or be more explosive athletes at any age need to build strength. If an athlete doesn’t know how to squat, do a proper lunge, hip hinge, or brace their core then how can they apply the power required to get the puck faster than the other kid? How can they have that game-winning jump to block the ball and win that final point in the season-ending volleyball game? How can they boot the soccer ball to the other end of the field for their teammate who has a clear path up the middle? Athletes need to take time at a lower heart rate to learn proper movement and mechanics, then start loading appropriately, then start adding intensity.

I once had a trainer tell me that I should consider doing Hockey camps because parents just throw money at you and all you need to do is “Get the kid to run around for an hour so they’re tired and sweaty and the parents are happy”. That honestly pissed me off because that’s not how we train our athletes.

Here is a list of questions parents should be asking or keeping in mind when looking into training for their kids

  • How much focus is put on proper movement and mechanics when coaching my child?
  • Will my child be learning when they are here or is it just a workout?
  • What is the structure of the sessions?
  • Are these movements that my child can build upon and progress during their athletic careers?
  • Can my child and I take part in a class to see what the structure, atmosphere, coaching and feedback is like?
  • Is there an intake process like the Starke No Sweat Intro where you can sit down and talk with the coaches to see if the program is a good fit?
  • Not all gyms, programs, and trainers are created equally. Do your homework and see what fits (not just financially).
  • Just because someone had a good track record as an athlete doesn’t make them a good coach.

When is the best time to start dryland training?

  • Make sure to give your child a month or so off after their season has ended. Kids recover quickly but still need a mental break and time to be a kid.
  • Several months before the upcoming season. Remember they need time to learn movements and increase intensity gradually (especially if they’re new to it).

When is the worst time to start dryland training?

  • In season kids have a lot going on with school, practices & games in their respective sports. Most kids are also playing intramural sports or swimming, or have music lessons etc. Overloading your child is not the way to go. We’ve sent kids home when a parent drops them off right after a game for a class. If you want your kid run into the ground and burnt out in all areas then just keep pushing them. Kids need a break too.
  •  If your child doesn’t want to be there don’t force them. We’ve had parents pushing their kids to do dryland training because they’re going to be “the next big thing”. I’ve been doing this long enough to tell if a child is going to excel and wants to be there within the first few sessions. If they’re a little sponge soaking everything up, you know they have potential. If they are looking at the coach while performing the movement looking for feedback and approval then they’re in the right place. If they’re walking around not paying attention during explanations and you have to demonstrate and repeat yourself over and over, it might not be for them or they may just need some time to mature.

Training should promote steady progress and lead to increased physical capacity over time. Steady consistent progress is the way to go with training ANY athlete. Give us some time and we WILL make your kids better, faster, and stronger. Be patient, trust the process and the coaches.

Keep in mind that most Pro’s are a decade or two long “overnight success”

If you have any questions or would like to talk about training opportunities please contact us at info@starkestrength.com or call 2044218801


Paul Dyck