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How would you approach this difficult conversation with a teenage girl....? | Coaching Youth (age 13-18)

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Home » Groups » Coaching Youth (age 13-18) » Forum » Coaching Youth (age 13-18), General Forum » How would you approach this difficult conversation with a teenage girl....?
Coaching Youth (age 13-18)

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Posted in: Coaching Youth (age 13-18), General Forum

How would you approach this difficult conversation with a teenage girl....?

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  • David_T

    I'm just wondering what peoples thoughts are on how they might approach a difficult conversation with a 15 year old girl about their weight?

    Normally i'd not even have the conversation, i'd tweak training, i'd offer some general advice about healthy eating and when best to eat (not pretending to be an expert but based on advice from the nutrition lead at the NGB).  But these tactics have been tried, along with a conversation with parents.  Now the situation has led to a drastic decrease in performance from 12 months ago and injury is a genuine concern.

    Any advice?

  • dan6969

    Hi David,

    I think we need to know the context.

    Is this a sport student, what sport, how long have you known her, how many hours a week are you teaching/coaching her, why is her weight a problem, how do you know her weight is an issue, what are your qualifications relating to weight loss?

    Thanks in advance,


  • lewiscraig11

    Need to know more context - but despite the gender of the player you should be able to approach this with ease

  • lewiscraig11

    I had a similar situation with a player at a younger age this year - but having built up a great bond a relationship with the player and his parents over a 6-9 month period I found the subject easy to approach - I came with a caring approach and sold it to the player and parents as it was just part of my job - mentioned all the positives you like about the player then swoop in with your concern and they will really take to it

  • Hi David,

    I agree with the others, we would need to know the context before fully understanding the situation etc. Also level of performer, training hours, multi sport?

    What I would say is 15 is an awkward age for girls - puberty, changing body shape etc can all result in some weight changes before it all settles down again. Sometimes, things like this sort themselves out over time.

  • David_T

    Hi all,

    Thanks for the initial messages, this is quite an unusual situation for me,where a young athlete is training with older much more accomplished athletes as part of the National Performance Centre set up.  Think of this girl as an athlete that would  (at this stage) qualify for national championships, but not be expected to finish in the top 8.  With the fact that javelin has a run up and then a throw, the impact on a young body can be great.  When you think 10x body weight can go through the block leg upon deliver, you can see why 5 extra kilos matters.   As a physio said to me the other day, now she's seen the event close up, she's not sure anyone should be doing this laughing.  At the moment a heavy landing in the run up before throwing is leading to a loss of any ability to transferr run up speed and leg power into the implement.

    Despite the fact i've been an England and now GB team coach, I do not like the idea of personally prescribing diet too much, rather I think reiterating the principles of a balanced diet and understanding intake are key.  We've had gentle discussions with the parents and now one of the bizarre problems we're having is that the food is healthier (fruit rather than biscuits) but the net calorific intake has not decreased and there is still a serious over estimation from the parents on how much calorific intake is required after, what at this time of the year, are nothing more than moderately intensive training sessions.

  • Hi David,

    You are obviously well qualified in your area but if you are uncomfortable can you not bring in another person - such as dietician or nutritionist. Maybe not as a 1:1 but in a group environment with other athletes to stress the importance of a good, balanced diet not only for performance purposes but to keep their bodies healthy?
    That way it may not be seen as directing the advice at just one person, which with teens can mean they rebel and start sneaking food and treats etc (which I have seen happen before with fellow athletes).

  • pilgrim2925

    Hi David,

    Have you approached Renee McGregor; she is a leading UK sport nutritionist based in Bath and as well looking after the dietary needs some of our most promising athletes also gives group talks to young athletes around the country. Rather than single the athlete out you could have Renee come have a talk about their dietary needs to the group (including their parents).




  • David_T

    Hi Paul and Dannielle,


    I really likes your ideas and i'm going to try something like this! I know just the person too.


    Thank you



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