Back to Back Issues Page Newsletter---Working With Young Athletes
August 20, 2014
Dear tennis friends,

In today's newsletter, I want to share with some tips shared by Mike Robertson, one of the premier performance coaches in the world. He is helping clients and athletes from all walks of life to achieve their physique and sports performance goals.

There are a handful of the issues when we talk about athletic development, especially with younger athletes.

#1 - No Focus on Movement Quality

I still remember one of my first training sessions in a weight room. I was a junior in high school, and the entire basketball team was training together.

One poor freshman literally could not bench press the bar on an incline bench.While funny at the time, I also felt bad for the kid.

The coach bellowed, “Damnit Watson! Grab dumbbells!”

So Watson proceeded to grab two, 20-pound dumbbells.

He got the first rep. And even squeaked out a second.

But the third nearly crushed his eye socket!

Sound familiar?

As coaches, we have to make movement quality a focus. Before we start to train for explosiveness, strength, or endurance, we have to make sure our athletes move well first.

#2 - Pushing Max Weights too Early

As someone who has competed on-and-off in powerlifting for close to a decade, I love pushing heavy weights.

But when I see a young, underdeveloped kid who is being pushed too soon in the weight room, it makes me cringe.

After all, half these kids can barely control their own bodyweight, let alone any sort of significant external loading.

Vladimir Zatsiorsky (a Russian coach and author of Science and Practice of Strength Training) refers to the three year rule with young athletes:

Quite simply, you shouldn’t be pushing maximal weights with a young athlete for at least three years.

Instead, focus on body weight drills, proper technique, and building volume slowly but surely.

With a young athlete, you don’t need to be fancy. Instead, focus on being smart and consistent.

#3 - Too Much Lactic Training

Arguably the biggest issue I see nowadays with young athletes is too much high-intensity, anaerobic training.

The “aerobic base” gets a bad rap, but if you work with team sports athletes, a well-developed aerobic system is critical for sustaining the energy demands necessary for practices and games.

Furthermore, aerobic and anaerobic training are polar opposites with regards to how your body responds.

While there’s definitely a time and place for high-intensity training, doing it continuously, or even year-round, is a recipe for burnout and/or injury.


Training athletes doesn’t have to be difficult or overly complex.

Give them a proper movement base, teach them to be strong over the course of several years, and develop the appropriate energy system for maximal performance.

Do this, and I guarantee you’ll be successful more times than not.

To your tennis success,

How to play tennis?


Tennis Stories

Follow me on twitter

Find me on Facebook

Back to Back Issues Page