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Posted in: Coaching News

Children are getting weaker

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  • StephHart

    These news reports of studies have been going on for years and I feel it's high time we had a conversation about why studies are not showing improvements in children's physical strength.

    What's going on?

    It's scary to think how much money is being ploughed into getting our children fit and healthy, and still studies are being published saying things like 'Children are getting weaker'.  I don't get where it's going wrong, I'm doing my part and I know you are doing your part to reverse this distasteful trend; parents are being educated about the benefits of a healthy life so who is letting the side down. 

    I had a look at the National Curriculum KS1 PE, there is no mention of the word 'strength'; only the words balance, agility and co-ordination are used; but you need strength for these skills don't you or you would land in a heap on the ground? Shouldn't children be familiar with what strength, means, looks like and feels like before they get to KS2?  It might be helpful to include the word 'strength' at all stages of develop rather than presume that everybody knows that it should be included.

    Strength is the corner stone for improving all other basic physical competences such as balance, co-ordination, flexibility, agility, speed; without it these basic skills surely cannot be achieved to the child's full potential or satisfaction.  The knock on effects to a child's self-confidence and self-esteem is evident when they start to linger at the back, get upset or/and refuse to join in with the activity.  You can't argue that they are too young to learn about being strong, it's instinctive of their natural development, as from a babies children want to hold their heads up, roll, sit up, crawl, stand without falling etc and they will keep trying until they can.

    Do we as adults hold children back too much because we are too afraid of the consequences of them falling or failing?

    If what we are doing now is not having the impact it should be having to improve children's fitness and health then what are the consequences, when these children become adults and it's their turn to parent/coach/teach the next generation of children? 

  • JaneWSwim

    When I was young and training as a swimmer coaches were rather obsessed with strength.  We used to do weight training BEFORE swimming training - not the best plan I have experienced.  Certainly not what I adopted.  When we all became aware of LTAD and had educated coaches rather than 'copy someone else coaches' we moved from strength to the holistic development of skills based on age, maturity and in swimming, natural land based development.  I would worry if we went back to strength as a prime aim.  I agree that we need to get children more active but maintain that activity should continue along aerobic capacity, flexibility, balance, endurance and all those other objectives we develop.  Yes, we need strength to do those things but isn't it cyclical? - children get stronger from doing them and that strength is used to do them some more.

    I don't think children linger at the back because they don't feel strong enough to take part.  When children watch others who are 'better' than they feel they are, I think they are looking at the 'performance' which is a mixture of it all. 

  • Hamkish

    I am a National Nordic Walking Trainer with British Nordic Walking. We are tiring to develop Nordic Walking in schools as a way of helping to deal with this problem. But it is very difficult getting teachers to listen. Nordic Walking is easy for all teachers to teach with the added benefit of the teacher has to take part as well. This allows the most unsporting of teachers to be a role model especially to those who find sport difficult. For your information Nordic Walking taught properly uses 90% of your main muscle groups and has Low Perceived Effort. I have taught Nordic Walking down to year1 in schools.  If any one wants any more info contact ne at hamish.willis1@ntlworld.com It may seem a bit outside the box but traditional sport hasn't worked. Also with Nordic Walking the teacher can teach at tyhe same time with games like scrabble or mental maths and spellings. 

    Just a thought.

  • JonnyMoore

    Hi - I have just joined the community and it looks very helpful. I am a longtime footballer coach but have moved increasingly into junior athletic development to address precisely this issue.

  • Gansy

    Hey. I am a table tennis coach dealing with kids as young as 6.

    There is documented evidence that physically children's frames are developing faster but the muscles and brains are not quite keeping up!



  • Arthurlawlor

    With numerous LTAD models about the main difficulty is institutions face is time and resources. There are some very good examples of sports clubs aiding athletic development and strength as a concequence however as a whole most children don’t have access.

  • Dyett

    Hi , 


    Great post


    I am a table tennis coach here in England , and have been for 6 years , but a few times a year i go to stockholm and do a bit of coaching there. The interesting thing about table tennis clubs in Sweden is the government pays x amount for a children per session , so for the parents and the kids , money is not an issues thus they can play as much as they like , which will make players stronger through doing sport. 

    Where as here , the parents have to pay , and we know how expensive it can be to go to a club 4 times a week. A few parents have said that in the past they used the excuse that the child has to study as an excuse.

    For me building someone physically for the sport is only if I and the child wants to take it seriously , I don't think we can expect school kids to be building strength. Teachers and Coaches are so influential to young people , I think it is just important to get kids into clubs , as much as we can then they can build on physically  and mentally while playing a sport.  

    May have gone a bit off topic! sorry



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