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This week's column:

Skate Training for Children and Teens

May 23, 2012




QGood morning, Coach: I am a speed skating coach in Portugal. I want to know if there are any new methods of resistance and speed training for boys and girls from 12 to 16 years old. - Thank you, Nelson.

Ask the Coach!

Hi, Nelson: There hasn’t been much new in the last few years in the way of training methods for youngsters. But here’s a quick overview of the state of the art:

The fact remains that weight training can be dangerous for children. They are simply not mature enough physically for the rigors of lifting. The short-term gains can lead to long-term problems.

On the other hand, off-skate plyometric training can be very helpful for youngsters and should be part of a well-designed training program.

Interval training and ladder drills remain the foundation of skate training. Highly recommended are 200, 500 and 1000-meter intervals.

One new training method has appeared in the last few years: Tabata. In case you are unfamiliar with this, it involves 20 seconds of maximum effort, followed by 10 seconds of recovery, repeated 8 times. A set takes just four minutes, but provides real benefits if repeated five times a week for six weeks.

Some coaches like to use parachutes and elastic bands for resistance training. I prefer having the kids do 500- or 1000-meter interval training on slight inclines. The important thing here is to make sure the grade is not too steep and that the skaters maintain good technical form throughout.

Hope that helps!

Cheers, Bill

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