Junior runner dilema!! HELP



  • Jokerman, I meant exactly what I said.  The local running club had a definite emphasis on short term development by emphasising what I understand to be VO2 max gain.  I decided, based on what I think is best for my son (only my opinion, but as you don't know him....) to join a training group that emphasises the long term development of the members as individuals (it's a small enough group for this to be possible) by establishing a foundation of fitness and endurance with the added advantage that the majority of sessions are undertaken off road.  He enjoys it.  He runs with other children.  He races, but that isn't the be all and end all.

    I think that's right for my child.  Sorry if you disagree.

  • Impish37 wrote (see)

    I decided...to join a training group that emphasises ...development ...as individuals (it's a small enough group for this to be possible)

    Crucial point IMPISH37. Well intentioned coaches often have 10 - 20 kids running, night impossible to do what's right for one kid in the bunch. We saw much 'competiton to win the rep session, exceed the tempo pace, etc.' The particular kid's past week, year, day, all affect training--coaches with so many simply don't have the time or often the opportunity to digest this mountain of info from 10+ kids. The psychology of so many compounds the problem. Hope your kid is enjoying what you have commendably chosen for him.
  • WoW!! looks like Ive started something here!!!

    I only realy came on here for some general advise for my girl. I DO want whats best for her and didnt just want to take her down to the nearest club and have her flung into competion, as I would prefer for her to be happy, enjoy her sport and make her own mind up.

    I emailed and called a few clubs in the area who all basically said the same thing ," bring her down", however after speaking at length to her football club coach, the decision we have ALL taken is to see the football season through, allow Amy to enter a few shortish runs to see if she continues to enjoy the experience, around her matches and football training when the schedule is not too hectic, then consider her options in the summer. 

    I dont want to get involved in flaming other members here, i value all your comments and of course fully expect a difference of opinion. It is for me then to form a balanced opinion as a parent.

    Amy has now entered the great Manchester junior run, to give her something to aim for, and she comes out for a couple of miles with me once or twice a week, and also participates in school x country.

    I think this is probably a reasonable balance in her sport for now. She is aware as are her school that she has a talent, but at 12 years of age I dont want to railroad her.

    Just trying to pull this back on track (if you pardon the pun!!)

    Kind regards


  • If I may be gloomy, I started "running" at 6 or 7 years old, ten years ago - and countless children who were once friends and team-mates have given up athletics to pursue other sports.

    It's something to do with one team winning a football game, and half the kids there going home happy, and only one person ever winning a race, and that one kid going home happy - Footy and so on are just naturally more satisfying for kids. I don't know many good athletes who have taken up athletics on top of/insttead of another sport.

    I think footy will win out! 

  • Mike Long 4

    Sounds sensible, good luck.


    You sound like an angry person.

    PS: my "child" does not train alone. She trains with me, my wife and my other two children; many cousins float in and out, she trains with them too; she trained with other cousins in USA is April; she also plays hockey, netball, TT, swims, sea canoes, climbs mountains and doesn't pick fights with angry people on the internet; she also has sporty friends who join in when so inclined.

    You suggest you "know a lot about running." I won't flame that comment--it speaks volumes for itself--but I will indicate to the board that you know nothing about my daughters and son.

  • "All WE want is for her to give her all" - that sounds like pushy parenting to me.
  • Your interpretation, Vicky, is understandable, but incorrect in this situation. Many people, adults and kids, suffer the common syndrome "holding back...working within themselves...fear of failure/succes." I have seen my kids happy--they are happiest when they've laid themselves on the line and achieved something worthwhile, viz., laying themselves on the line. That is what my quoted words intend. I want, like most parents, to see my kids happy. Rudyard Kipling's "If" spring to mind, Herman Hesse's indictment of "the brood of medicrity" etc.

  • So what is "something worthwhile"? Is it competing or winning?

    Do you not think what you convery to them, e.g. about things like "mediocrity", has a significant bearing on their version of "worthwhile"??

    Who tells your kids what is worthwhile? Is it you? It seems your  version of worthwile is not to be mediocre... Wwhat happens if one of your kids turns out to be "mediocre"?

    JM probably has, like me not that I'm significantly old, encountered attitudes like yours through coaching kids. I always recall one particular pushy parent from coaching football. While myself and a friend, at 25 years old, had a free kick competition for fun this parent had his 7 year old child go through a series of coaching drills. I didn't know them at this stage but I coached the same child 3 years later. Each time he got the ball and made a mistake the parent called the child over and shouted at him.

    Wwhere's the fun in that? Your attitude reminds me very much so of this...

  • The UKA minimum age rules are, to be frank, total nonsense. They are appropriate for someone who has never run before but for any sort of a trained athlete, they verge on the ridiculous. They ended up having to change quite a few when Emily Pidgeon started going through the age groups - she won the Euro U20 trials at 12 - and was then repeatedly told that she couldn't enter 3000m track races whereupon her family sued UKA and they had to give in. 

    Had a 15 nearly 16 year old lad wanting to do some 5ks this December. He's a pretty reasonable runner, slightly under-developed for his age -  28:21 for 5 miles over the summer and he'll run much faster soon - told he couldn't do them as UKA had advised them they shouldn't have anyone under 17 running - absolutely ridiculous.

    The UK's LTAD programme is based on a very odd model which got sold as a multi-sport development to Sport England with very little scientific basis to it in the slightest.

    Objectively - having run both 1500 and longer road races at a fairly amateur level I'd be much more worried about kids running 1500 - much more painful.Similarly it seems ridiculous that for any "older" athlete running less than about 30 MPW who wants to do speedwork they'd be told to "build up a bigger base" and make sure they're ready to run fast. At the same time coaches take kids who know very little about exactly what their body can take and have them doing repeat flat out 400s with no aerobic background or muscle conditioning at all...

    It never ceases to amaze me how when "running" is mentioned parents are instantly worried about stress fractures etc. whilst playing rugby/hockey/football with a relatively decent chance of picking up a seriously broken bone is absolutely fine at any age...

    FWIW- I ran my first 10k age 8 in 61:42. Now 22 about to run my first marathon at London. Bit quicker over 10k now than when I started.

  • Last year she would have ranked 14th in the UK on powerof10! (Sorry if this has already been mentioned, I don't have time to read through the thread)
  • While I'm not sure it's best for kids to be trained by their parents, I do roll my eyes at all the people going into a panic whenever someone young trains fairly hard and wants to compete.

    Since when is that a problem?
    I was a member of a football club from the age of 5 (you had to be 6, but my older brother went and I was there every practice session anyway so got to join too a bit earlier)
    From 12yo I went to a school (selected for academic reasons) where 1hour sports was mandatory for every pupil every school day.
    By then I had switched sports to volleyball and in addition to those 5 hours sports I also had 1 training session with the school volleyball and handball teams each. And I was a member of a volley club with 2 training sessions a week and a game. From age 16 I trained once with the youth team, twice with the adult team and played games with both the youth team and the adult reserves on weekends.

    Yes, you may get the odd overuse injury, but have you ever seen anyone competing at national level who never had an overuse injury by the time they're 18
    It's how you deal with it when it happens that matters.

    My father was a national level player and national level volley coach and a touch pushy too (I can't recall a plain 'Good game' without some analysis of possible improvements), but that's not a problem if you're enjoying yourself. I do think it might have been difficult to have him as a coach though, but that never happened.

    Bottom line, I get annoyed with all this 'no competition, don't train too hard, it's has to be fun' crap.
    Kids absolutely love to compete, just keep an eye on some kids on the playground. Before you know it they're organising 'races' amoung themselves.
    Training hard with a bunch of mates is a lot of fun and great bonding too.

    I enjoyed competitive sport from about 6yo for the next 20 years and now when I get a bit of decent training in I feel the competitive juices flowing again, good times.
    Competing IS fun.

    Sometimes this forum seems so intent on making sure running is a pastime and not a sport it's outrageous.

  • While I'm not sure it's best for kids to be trained by their parents, I do roll my eyes at all the people going into a panic whenever someone young trains fairly hard and wants to compete.

    I agree with that but kids don't always know when to stop and when to ease off and as for all things they rely on adults to reign them in when they go too far.........and the other problem is that when the parents are too closely involved....quite often the kids are competing to try and win the parents approval or becasue the parents want them to be the best rather than being driven themselves.

    young kids want to please their parents so much and if the only way they can get that approval is to push themselves hard every time then they will whether they want tio or not...............if a coach is pushing too hard or fast for the kids good then the parents can step in.If they are the same person then there is a problemimage

  • Really not sure what you're going on about an agenda Jokerman - I ran in the club youth system as soon as I could get my parents to drive me to the local club, enjoyed it, still have my EYAL T-shirts had a great training group and stayed with the club. I'm not totally convinced it was the best thing for me in terms of developing as a distance runner but I've certainly got no complaints. Just more misinformed nonsense from you?

     What I do know is that there are a lot of poor "coaches" (and I use this term very loosely) out there who like you have a cookie-cutter approach. Yes there are kids who love doing just speed work but there are also a lot for whom a very different approach involving more miles will be much more succesful and it's usually these youngsters who will actually end up runners as it's the athletes who enjoy putting in the miles that end up at the top. I think you have a real naivete in this regard.

    Pidgeon's parents might be slightly crazy but at the end of the day you've got a girl who isn't running at the same level but enjoys the sport a great deal and enjoys running for her, not for anyone else, she's grown up pretty damn well. If you're looking for the "controlling" and "pushy" influence there- the parents weren't superb by all accounts but the main culprit was the club coach - who ended up being suspended from all coaching activity. Unfairly in my mind but still shows that you can't just rely on a club coach having the kid's best interests at heart.

    What you might learn at some point is that it's not a case of "plodding" 30 miles a week on your own, if that's what you do then I'm not surprised you find it dull, but heading out with a group of mates on a nice aerobic run chatting and bantering away -times flies and you can actually learn to love running. That's  what I'd prefer the kids to do.

  • I did gymnastics about 4 times a week from the age of 8 to 16 and took part in competitions.  I was never amongst the best but I was really happy doing the sport, and while my parents always ferried me round to training classes, they never once pushed me.  There's a difference between competing at that age and feeling like you have to win or 'lay yourself on the line' to try and win.

  • interesting topic 

    not all coaches are good coaches 

    all kids develop at different stages some kids can run loads 5k is not far at all

    the kenyan's run alot further at a young age

    parents do need to be involved but listen to your kids

    and check out the coaches credentials

    most important the have to be happy image

  • Call this one wrong and your child may well have a lifelong belief that they are a failure even though they are really very very good. 'You did very well, did you enjoy it, do you want to have another race sometime' is what it should be at that age - no training, no coaches just a feel good thing. By the time they are 20 there is no difference between the chid who started proper training at 12 and the child who started running at 16.

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