What can a young cyclist do at training? (1)

It is an usual question because, parents and coaches, wish the progress of the young athletes without affecting their physical integrity.

We often have a biased look at athletic achievements of kids under 14 years (high peaks climbing, records in long distance running...) and we are a little circumspect face to the performance of teenagers in senior competitions.

We can think about the merits of these performances, the educational side that can be questionable and there is also the physiological aspect.

During “long long” years I’ve always heard, and it was taught to me during my university years, that a child was only good at low intensity efforts before puberty, that their progress on strength activities was mainly due to a better technic and not to a gain of strength. It is true, we can’t deny it: a child has a huge endurance capacity and continually integrates new motor patterns according to his life experiences but "at the same time", we can’t be so categorical and say that a child is good in only one energetic mode before a "specific date".

Moreover, we all observe that each child, each teenager does not progress at the same speed, in the same way and again, my sentence is biased because no "athlete" whatever his age does not evolve from the same way so why make such a marked difference between ages.

Through a series of articles, let us humbly explore what we can ask the body of a young athlete and especially if the development of a particular quality is necessary during the young age. 

Some benchmarks of performances:

- Axel Christensen (Denmark) with a time of 30'50 "on 10.000m and 8'51" on 3000m at 14 years old.

- Sara Meloni (Italy) with a time of 44'44 "over 10km at seven.

- Rudolph Ingram (USA) with a time of 13''48 over 100m (7 years).

To access the records of athletes in France, unfortunately often from the category Junior - U18: https://www.athle.fr/asp.net/main.html/html.aspx?htmlid=2117.

- Jordan Romero (USA), the youngest Everest summiter at the age of 13.

- Valérie Schwatz (Switzerland), the youngest Mont Blanc summiter at the age of 7.

- Gymnasts under 12 years old with 12-14h of weekly training.

- Swimmers in college with sessions of 3000 to 4500 yards, 5 times a week.

According to our own educational precepts, one can find these athletic achievements stupid, normal or awesome but that is not the subject.

Frederic HURLIN - www.azurperformance.fr

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