Working with a 14 year old athletic girl
I've been given the opportunity as a new personal trainer to take on training a friend's 14 year old daughter as a "client" over the summer. A 4-6 week program focusing on building her strength as she is active in sports (she does not have a weight issue). Her father is looking for approaches through training that will challenge her and keep her interested. It sounds like motivation is also an issue. Any recommendations/resources any one may know of and can suggest would be greatly appreciated! thank you!
That said I do have one general thing I think is important. I've had teens in my classes off and on, and have in the past had a teen group, but in no way consider myself an expert. There are differences, in terms of physiology, psychology, interpersonal communication, and so on. Just remember if you train an adult you can ask them what they want, and see what you think would help them achieve that, or if there is some disconnect between what they want and how fast they want it. With a teen you have not only what they want, but what the parent wants..... Do you see what I mean? Who is the client... the parent or the youth? I think you want to interview the youth and see what they want and if they are a good match for you. Speak to them and more importantly listen to them not as an extension of their parent, but as their own self who has opinions and feelings, and who matters. And if you find that what they want, and what the parent wants differ you need to be upfront with everyone about what the plan is, and that everyone's voice is to be heard. I think being listened to is every bit as important as whether you use hand weights or tai chi or stability balls.
If she does want to do it I would place the emphasis on functional moves that can help her in life and her sport. Make sure to keep it fun, I would suggest using bands and balls as there are so many drills you can do with them to keep her interested.
In terms of insurance, I am fully insured personally under a trainer policy with a $1mil max coverage. I had client in quotes because the thought that a 14 year old is a client seems sort of odd since at this stage (which is very preliminary) it seems that the father is the true client with expectations. In order to feel i'm standing by my professional ethics my focus will be on the teen and what she needs to build confidence and learn what motivates her.
Suggestions as to the types of activities work best for girls of this age are so very much appreciated. I am a certified bootcamp instructor and believe I have some fun, mix-it-up kind of moves to bring to her. I also plan to incorporate HER musical preferences to keep her connected to the activities we are doing.
If anyone has additional things to add, it is welcomed! Thank you again!
There's a lot of good advice here. Personally, I work with adults over 40, so this is not my area of expertise. However, I just started training my own 13 year old daughter & am learning on the fly! I did not push this - she came to me. Like your girl, my daughter is a pretty good athlete - volleyball & softball. But once we got to the gym initially, her motivation level was not great. It was definitely a challenge for me - I'm used to people listening to me! But once I convinced her of how the training was going to take her game (particularly volleyball) to another level, she started coming around. As much as I had to bite my tongue at times, I only offered positive motivation. It took a little bit for her but I'm happy to say that she's doing well - she definitely became internally motivated to do this & that was the turning point. That's what you need your girl to do!
As far as the programming goes, I try to mix it up a lot but keep it simple. I keep the reps high (15 to 20) & stay away from exercises that stress her spine vertically (overhead presses, barbell squats, etc.) We do about 12 - 13 strength exercises per workout - upper body, lower body, core exercises - you know the drill. We also add in about 20 min. of cardio - whatever she feels like doing that day - I do it with her. And the exercises that mimic some volleyball skills - they're a big help in terms of motivation.
As I said, there's a lot of good advice here but Dr. Kosich (Daniel) makes the most important point: Kids this age are not done growing and you need to be aware of the existing bone growth/plate issues. Just keep it light, nothing crazy (especially overhead movements) & you should be good. Dad had it right in wanting her to start training with you; you just need to help her find her own reasons for doing it. Good luck - you'll be fine!
I could spend the next ten weeks teaching a fitness professional the ins and outs of this topic. And most of my young athletes move on to collegiate training atmospheres within a few years of working with me. I teach to educate, not just to produce a desired fitness goal.
Check out my website at www.hawaiifitnessacademy.com