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Growth & Development: Key Points of Growth and Development

(The information in this article was taken or adapted from the High Performance Coaching Program Study Guide.)

  • The physical growth spurt typically occurs in males around age 14 and in females around age 12.
  • Growth in bones does not completely finish until adolescents are 18 to 20 years old. Therefore, exercise caution when doing maximal activities with younger children.
  •  In strength training for pre-pubescents, emphasize high repetitions and low weight formats, as hypertrophy of the muscles and other forms of muscular development are minimal until after puberty.
  • The social development of the child changes with time.  Children initially are oriented toward adults, then toward peer interaction and approval during ages 12 to 15, and then finally toward individualizing themselves as development continues.
  • Emotionally, children prior to adolescence have the desire to be useful and to do things well. They want praise from authority figures and will work hard to earn it. However, as they move into adolescence, they focus more on establishing their own identities.
  • The mental development of the child start with the early stage of concrete concepts, to more questioning and analyzing in the formal operations stage, to finally, in late adolescence, complex extractions and concepts. 
  • For training children from ages 8 to 11, emphasize skill development, using repetitive activities that reinforce the fundamentals within the games approach. Body weight exercises, cardiorespiratory conditioning, and agility and balance training should be the main physical training methods.
  • For training adolescents from ages 12 to 15, increase training intensity carefully. Because of the physical changes occurring during puberty, be sure to include training in movement and balance.
  • For training adolescents from ages 16 to 18, focus on developing strength and power.
  • When you coach children ages 8 to 11, you can take advantage of their unquestioning desire to gather information by teaching a lot of essential tennis skills. As the children reach ages 12 to 15, they are less accepting of what you tell them, but they also are more interested in taking on a more active role in their training and practice. Players between the ages of 16 to 18 are capable of abstract thinking and need a lot of independence.
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