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Thursday, March 1, 2012

World's Strongest Kids

Saw this a few days ago. I wish I had a dollar for every child prodigy who never reached their potential as adults. I remember a family when I was growing up who had two boys who set national age group records in their track events. This is a true story, but I will not name them out of respect to their privacy. Their father was a local track coach and he trained them from the time they were able to walk, if not before. They also set national junior olympic and AAU (anyone remember them?)age group records in weightlifting. I worked hard and was able to set a school record in the discus my senior year of high school, and the following year one of these young men came in and shattered it as a mere freshman. The younger brother was an amazing javelin thrower. To make a long story short, neither even became a state champion, let alone a national champ. By their senior year they had been busted for marijuana and were no longer even training. Unfortunately, they were Todd Marinovich, long before Todd Marinovich. (Google him if you don't know who that is) They weren't allowed to eat any junk food or just play until their workouts were finished. While they were young, they complied. As soon as they got old enough, they couldn't wait to break out on their own.
I am not against structure, rules, and starting kids training at a young age. However, my experience has been that it has to be fun and not forced. My own children followed me to the weightroom from the time they could walk and it became their "playground". All were credible lifters and achieved high levels of success in other activities and sports as well. They were never forced to workout. Make training fun for youngsters and if they want to take some time for other activities, let them. Nothing will change an activity from play into work faster than forcing it. There are many highly successful athletes that have started at a young age and had long enjoyable careers. The difference in my opinion is the attitudes of their parents and coaches. If the parent is putting the child's welfare first and is not on a personal ego trip, then it will work. This clip is too short for me to draw any conclusions. The boys seem to be having fun and I hope they are. Best wishes to this family.

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