Getting Buy-In Early!
One of the Squads I do some S&C coaching in is our Futuros squad, for those U10 players on our Aspire to Excel programme. I work in with 2-3 coaches and we rotate groups approximately every 20 minutes.
After an initial skills session, we look to break into the small groups and there is often a clamour from all players to come on the fitness rotation first! Now this may well be to get it out of the way(!), but I hope rather that it is because they enjoy the fitness work we are doing and want to do it first before anything else!
In previous squads we have had a jump contest and the group who jumped the highest came with me first! They really went for it and possibly set some vertical jump PBs in the process! Or we have had the group who call out first go with me and they try to get their shout in as quickly as possible.
Now aside from feeling very honoured they want to come with me first(!), what I love about this is that they are totally engaged in the fitness side of their programme – they’ve ‘bought into it’ and they want to do it. If they enjoy it now, then hopefully they will just see it as part of what they do as a young athlete and a young person and take those habits with them as they grow. By engaging them now, they are more likely to do what is asked of them in the future regarding their training, and hopefully enjoy it in the process.
In my opinion, this is a big part of what it means to be an effective S&C coach; to engage the player and have them appreciate and enjoy the fitness side of things from an early age.
Futuros Squad carrying out a mini-circuit