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!
Will you be working with the girl through an agency where you work where you will be covered by their insurance, or do you have your own business set up and does your insurance cover working with youth? I ask because it is something people do not always think about, but is really important. Accidents do happen and it is in your best interests as you enter this task to know you are appropriately legally covered. You have the word client in quotations…. does this mean you are doing this without charging? I think even if that is the case you want to make sure you are covered by insurance.
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.
Listen to her and figure out what she likes and dislikes. Figure out how vested in this she is and determine how to motivate her by finding her button. This is likely to change many times, as exercise can be very hard. Make sure you are working her within her comfort zone and then gradually increase the zone. Have fun and good luck.
As Ariadne implied, I would seriously ask if this is her idea or her father’s. If she is being forced into it (and I have been approached by many “sports parents” who are trying to improve their child’s game without the child being on board) you will have quite a challenge (and an ethical dilemma).
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.
Thanks so much to everyone for their replies. My instinct tells me that this motivation is from the dad, not the teen. I made it clear that the first session I have with her will be one on one to talk about HER goals and what SHE would like to get out of our times together each week. Your replies have confirmed for me that my instinct and knowledge is heading down the right path.
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!