Training your tween/teen boys

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syaigh
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Training your tween/teen boys

Post by syaigh » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:44 pm

I have two. What are you dads, uncles, grandpas, etc. doing with your young men?

I've had mine lifting since age 8, but my youngest had some ugly growth spurts and had a hard time with heavier lifting for a while. Both are running. Both play different sports throughout the year.

I train my daughter as well and I know the training doesn't have to be different, but we all know boys are different from girls if not just in what makes them tick. What have you all found to be fun, different, necessary, successful?
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by Thud » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:17 pm

If I can ever get my skinny/fat 15 y.o. to stop gaming long enough to leave his room I'll let you know...
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by dead man walking » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:42 pm

my kid loved playing soccer and basketball until he discovered weed and booze. then the long slide began. the aliens owned him.

if your kid is going to be an elite athlete, perhaps he'll enjoy serious training and competition. if not, try to help the little shit find games that he enjoys.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by Shafpocalypse Now » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:31 am

I'll be flat out honest, I feel at some point you take your boys and you give them to someone you respect and trust, who will do exactly what you do, but they will listen...and, fuck, I think this is probably even more appropriate for girls

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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by syaigh » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:42 am

One of my USA track and field instructors was Bill Godina, father of John Godina (multiple world champion thrower). Anyway, he said this regarding under 18 boys: "Boys are more delicate and more needy of guidance and direction than girls their age. Treat them as such."

He said this as a mature man who had raised and trained a world champion. I'm starting to see this with my boys, especially my youngest, in both sports and academics.

What do you all think about that?

And Shaf, yeah, you are right. They respond better to coaches they respect than mom and dad most of the time.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by dead man walking » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:07 am

boys are probably delicate. "more" delicate? i don't know.

mom, you are an embarrassment, if not today, soon.

a sympatico teacher or coach can be huge. i'm not sure how you guarantee a boy finds that person. don't underestimate the importance of friends ("peers").
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by powerlifter54 » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:21 am

Pull ups and deadlifts imho the base to start lifting from.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by JohnDoe » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:07 pm

syaigh wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:42 am
One of my USA track and field instructors was Bill Godina, father of John Godina (multiple world champion thrower). Anyway, he said this regarding under 18 boys: "Boys are more delicate and more needy of guidance and direction than girls their age. Treat them as such."

He said this as a mature man who had raised and trained a world champion. I'm starting to see this with my boys, especially my youngest, in both sports and academics.

What do you all think about that?

And Shaf, yeah, you are right. They respond better to coaches they respect than mom and dad most of the time.
I have found far more success coaching girls than boys in rowing. I'd always chalked it up to more time in their bodies due to earlier growth spurts, but Godina's line certainly has me thinking and would require a significant change in my approach. They do seem needier as I reflect. Not in a bad way, but in a different way. Thanks for that.

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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by Mickey O'neil » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:30 pm

The same with my 10 y.o. The only physical activity I can get him to do is hiking/walking trails with me.
Thud wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:17 pm
If I can ever get my skinny/fat 15 y.o. to stop gaming long enough to leave his room I'll let you know...

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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by JimZipCode » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:17 pm

My 8yo loves YouTube videos and Minecraft and Roblox. His most frequent exercise is to get up from our desktop computer to go to the study to play on the Wii U, or go into the dining room to play on a tablet and eat snacks. He practically snarls when asked to break away from a screen and go do something outside.

We've tried a variety of things over the years. When he was a tiny guy we started him in MyGym. A little older we started him in soccer. At age 6 I put him in karate, with so-so results. He asked to go to basketball camp, so we did that last Summer. He asked to try wrestling, so we did that last Fall. I had him in swim team a Summer ago (2016). Also tried a beginning Lacrosse camp. I had the bright idea to put him in a session of intro to fencing this Spring. With all of these, he was initially interested, but the interest faded.

Two factors I see. One, nothing is as exciting as what Captain America & the gang are doing. There's a craving for stimulation and a lack of interest in the dull real world, not just in my guy, but lots of the local kids. I think my wife and I miscalculated badly with screens when he was too young, but that's another discussion. (We're also not great role models when it comes to screen time.) And two, he's small for his age. Somewhere around 40th %ile for height, or maybe less. Soccer, wrestling etc are significantly less fun when the other kids are bigger & stronger than you are. The kids in his fencing group were older and taller, so they had a huge reach advantage. I think he starts out interested, and then gets pushed around and discouraged, which leads to a cycle of avoiding physical stuff, then not being great at it when he tries, so avoiding it more, etc etc. And all this is painfully, painfully familiar to me from my own growing up.

At this age nose-to-grindstone approaches don't make any sense. Kids need to find the fun in stuff, or it won't stick. One saving grace is that he LOVES his bike. Loves it so much that he will put up with the inconvenience of working the chain and bike lock every day, to ride to school and back (weather permitting). We spent bux last year on a nice kids bike (by Trek) and will upgrade to the next size up in the Spring. He'll also ride his scooter around the cul-de-sac. If I get my sloppy fat ass up off the couch, he will play frisbee with me. He'll complain if I make him go to the park with me for a short hike with the dog, but when we actually get there he enjoys himself: climbs on rocks & throws sticks etc.

My wife had a goddam brilliant idea. She said, since he loves throwing himself to the floor and rolling around and stuff, why not sign him up for Gymnastics? We basically wasted a school year after her suggestion, because all the classes were full and I was focused on his wrestling idea; but we finally got him in Beginner Boys this Fall. He seems into it. His hair gets all plastered to his forehead from sweat at the end of class; his teacher says he shows good strength, just needs to work on technique. She also says he's no more scatterbrained and unfocused than the other boys in the class. So I am cautiously very excited. He likes American Ninja Warrior on TV, so there's a bit of a screen/activity tie-in. Plus the movements are intrinsically interesting & fun. He can no longer pass a horizontal bar without grabbing it and swinging on it, maybe even trying a pull-up. They also do some vaulting and some trampoline stuff in the class. It's all quite awesome. We pay a monthly fee, quite inexpensive honestly (esp for the area), and he goes once a week. I think "Beginner Boys" runs the whole school year, and I think it potentially leads into Intermediate Boys next school year. We'll be riding this wave as long as we can, bet yer ass. (I wish we had got him into it last year.)

My son also shows an interest in strength training! Bench presses and deadlifts and stuff. I bought him a set of small kettlebells from Walmart, while we were at the old house. If I ever get the garage unfuckt, I'll set up a little lifting area for him in there. I'll hang a bar (or rings??) from the ceiling, and we can do a little Mon-Wed-Fri routine with kettlebell deadlifts and pull-ups and push ups.

He's the son of a (occasional) karate instructor, so he WILL get more chances at karate. I found one instructor in my organization that I think he really clicked with; unfortunately her class conflicts with Gymnastics during the school year, but I'll drag him to her again next Summer. I'll probably try another instructor during the school year at some point; but my wife thinks 2 things per week are enough during the school year, and we also have him in music lessons (School of Rock). That's something else I have long-term hopes for: being able to play guitar or keyboard can have social payoffs in the high school years, and we're both willing to tell him he HAS to stick with it. Can change instruments but not drop the activity.


Couple notes on karate, since I'm an instructor myself. In general I have tried *NOT* to teach him karate. I try to take him to an instructor I trust who runs a class that I "agree" with; and then help my son with the practicing at home. But I try not be "the teacher". I go out of my way: in class I ask the head instructor to assign me to a group of kids that my son is NOT in. But when he's approached an exam (he's taken two), I've stepped up the out-of-class practice a whole lot, basically working with him as if I were his instructor. He's responded well to that. Makes me wonder if not being his "teacher" has been the right call?

Anyway, with Gymnastics & music, karate is on hold for him right now. When we go back, I think it would help to prep him extensively for a couple weeks, before dragging him back to a class. He's gotten to an age where embarassment is a factor now. If I proactively help him practice the stances & kicks & forms that he "should" know for his belt level, so that he feels confident & solid before walking into class, his engagement and participation is likely to go much better. This I think goes along the lines of what others are talking about with how boys being more delicate and in need of guidance. With girls, they just seem to need a hint about what will help them succeed in a class. Boys seem to need to be shown EXACTLY how to do homework and exactly how to practice and exactly how to improve at something etc etc.

I plan to hang a heavy bag in the garage, both for myself and for the kid. Also, last year I bought a kid-appropriate breakaway board, and he loved whacking that thing. Palm strikes and kicks. Stuff like that is very easy to work with, and goes a long way to improving karate performance.


So: that's where we stand. Nerdy kid of soft nerdy parents, he loves nothing so much as computer screen time. Sustained parental efforts to throw different activities at him with the hope that something sticks. Doing stuff WITH him generally works out ok, sending him to do stuff not so great. He loves his bike, likes his scooter, enjoys frisbee, and early returns suggest he might thrive with Gymnastics. I plan to set up a little home "gym" in the garage with fun stuff like a heavy bag, a bar for pull-ups or swinging on, and some light kettlebells. My hope is that some increased physical competence and confidence will lead to greater engagement with physical activities, set up a virtuous circle.

Oh, I also plan to install a Swurfer in the yard this Spring. Looking for little touches to make the outside more fun & inviting.

I imagine this will be a constant – maybe struggle is too strong a word, but at least a slog – as he grows up. I'm ok with giving up my secret hope of him being a great high school point guard; nothing wrong with growing up a nerdy kid, esp given his set of parents. And the modern world is friendlier to a nerdy kid than it was when I was growing up. But I would like him to have some foundation for "life long health" and physical activity, a better foundation than I had. And I worry about bullying in middle school, so I would like him to be strong(er) and have some karate confidence (or wrestling or judo confidence) by the end of 5th grade. Not sure that anything we're currently doing is going to be a path to success in that. Worry, worry, worry.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by davidc » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:03 am

My 15 year old has never been interested in athletics. Not even a little.
Last school year my wife and I found out he'd quit academic team and robotics team. We told him we didn't care what he did, but he had to choose something (drama, band, a sport, whatever).
He'd just finished tactical pistol lessons with an instructor, and thought he'd like the sporting clays (shotgun) team. He took lessons all spring, but decided it wasn't the team he wanted to join even though he liked shotgun.
When he went to take the required physical for all sports last spring, his favorite teacher asked if he'd consider wrestling. On a whim, he said he'd give it a try. He started the conditioning workouts shortly thereafter, and hasn't quit.
The workouts can't be faked. They're 2.5 hours long four times a week. The conditioning and drill practices are brutal. Last week I showed up at the end of practice and saw my son running across the gym and back carrying his teammate across his shoulders. This from a kid who could hardly do a push-up in may.
I credit this to two coaches. His shooting coach who showed this skinny kid that he could handle a 12 gauge, which gave him the confidence to try wrestling. And the favorite teacher, who made my son want to hang around enough to try something new.
Both are great coaches. That was the key.

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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by dead man walking » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:09 pm

as kids, my brothers and i played sports in season--football, basketball, swimming, wrestling ice hockey, tennis, baseball. there were no computers. we walked everywhere in our residential neighborhood, roved in packs, and played games--formal, informal, making up rules and arguing as we went along. four of us played intercollegiate athletics. that was half a century ago.

as a kid, my son loved playing soccer, but in his mid-teens found drugs.

the end.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by davidc » Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:43 pm

dead man walking wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:09 pm
as kids, my brothers and i played sports in season--football, basketball, swimming, wrestling ice hockey, tennis, baseball. there were no computers. we walked everywhere in our residential neighborhood, roved in packs, and played games--formal, informal, making up rules and arguing as we went along. four of us played intercollegiate athletics. that was half a century ago.

as a kid, my son loved playing soccer, but in his mid-teens found drugs.

the end.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by dead man walking » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:31 pm

thanks, david.

my son is in his thirties now, still struggling to adapt to a world that is, in his view, "fucked."

i wonder, based on this thread, whether a coach or mentor, could have helped him stay on track. it would have taken an uncommonly patient individual.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by Thud » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:24 pm

Yeah, my kid is none too in love with the world either. I'm glad he's not yet found drugs, but he sure relies on the vast inner space of the internet to avoid the rest of society. Just a different kind of fix.

Really wish I had better leadership/motivational skills to employ, but my wife and I are on different pages re discipline and limits, and we've been at a tortured impasse for years now. I resent her and he resents me.

Really took pride in myself as a parent in those younger years. Now I just bear witness to our dysfunction.

Hope I'm not getting too real here.

Oh well, we all gotta fix ourselves in the end. Hopefully life is long enough...
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by dead man walking » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:44 pm

sounds familiar in many respects. there's hardly a day goes by i don't second guess how i dealt with things and wish i hadn't be so ineffectual.

good luck, thud.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by Thud » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:09 pm

to you as well, dmw. to you as well.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by syaigh » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:14 am

dead man walking wrote:
Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:31 pm
thanks, david.

my son is in his thirties now, still struggling to adapt to a world that is, in his view, "fucked."

i wonder, based on this thread, whether a coach or mentor, could have helped him stay on track. it would have taken an uncommonly patient individual.

I've coached some "difficult" kids. I'll say this, its easier for us as coaches to love them and them as kids to love us because we don't have to go home with them and tend to their daily needs and angst. They can keep us on a pedestal and we can still dream wildly about their potential. It makes for a good relationship that can be a lot more positive than the "ickiness" of real life. I can tell you this, coaching my own kids ain't dreamy at all.

I didn't have a lot of coaches growing up, but I had adults outside the family I could trust and really talk to who I knew would keep my secrets and give me good advice. They could tell me things my parents tried, but couldn't get through my thick skull.

Not that I'm by any means perfect . . . or even close to normal . . . but I think it helps.

Thud and DMW, I hope your guys find some peace. Growing up is hard no matter what you have around you to soften the blow.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by Grandpa's Spells » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:19 pm

Shafpocalypse Now wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:31 am
I'll be flat out honest, I feel at some point you take your boys and you give them to someone you respect and trust, who will do exactly what you do, but they will listen...and, fuck, I think this is probably even more appropriate for girls
Shit this is even true for toddlers. I thought one of the smarter things Steve Maxwell did was get a new coach for Zak. It seems rare to have intense parental involvement that doesn't take a weird turn sooner or later.
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Re: Training your tween/teen boys

Post by The Ginger Beard Man » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:11 am

My 20 year old nephew is a mediocre college rugby player who has asked me for training advice for years, but I'm not sure he's ever really followed through on it.
His 18 year old brother is a stud, captain of a very good high school team, and has never expressed much interest in lifting. But this year he started going 2-3x a week to lift with the team before school, so maybe that's changing.
He also spent a year getting drug tested every other week because a kid ratted him out for smoking weed before a match last fall. His gpa went from 3.5 to 2.9 to 2.5 because he didn't give a fuck. But his school cared enough to mandate therapy and those drug tests and they didn't throw him out (Catholic school, so they could have easily booted him).
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