Mar 20th 2017

The Science of Training Young Athletes (Coursera)

Created by:Delivered by:
Taught by:

Seventy percent of kids drop out of sports before their high school graduation. Only 15% leave because they feel they are not good enough. Almost 70% leave because they were not having fun, or due to problems with the coach. Injuries cause 30% to give up sports. This course is packed full of practical sports science information that provide youth coaches and parents with the practical pediatric sports science insights to successfully retain young athletes and develop their sport potential while avoiding injury and overtraining.

We begin by examining the multidimensional nature of coaching, the relevant sport motor performance abilities, the impact of growth and development on motor skills, the gene versus practice controversy, and briefly overview the body structures strengthened through training. Then we explore the athlete's energy supply, where this energy comes from, and how it matures along with the athlete. Finally, we examine the development of strength, power, anaerobic capacity, coordination and flexibility through the life span.



Week 1: Introduction to the young athlete

Youth coaches who have a sound understanding of pediatric sports science are essential to the successful development of a young athlete’s sport potential. In this section you are introduced to the multidimensional nature of coaching, and how an athlete’s motor abilities of endurance, strength, speed, coordination and flexibility are affected by growth and maturation.

Graded: Quiz 1

Graded: Quiz 2

Graded: Quiz 3


Week 2: Strategies for maximizing the athlete’s potential

Many factors can positively and negatively impact the young athlete’s ability to optimize their sports potential. In this section we examine strategies for ensuring the athlete’s systematic long-term sports development and how to mold the correct sport-specific phenotype.

Graded: Quiz 4

Graded: Quiz 5

Graded: Quiz 6


Week 3: How the body works

The coach is a microbiologist who designs training so it stimulates the body’s cells and structures to become stronger and more efficient. In this section you are introduced to key organ systems, and the energy these organ systems use to run the chemical reactions needed for a sports performance. You will also learn how diet can positively enhance an athlete’s ability to train and compete.

Graded: Quiz 7

Graded: Quiz 8

Graded: Quiz 9


Week 4: Enhancing the athlete’s physical work capacity

The level of expertise with which an athlete is able to perform sports skill depends on how well the coach molds the correct ratio of endurance, strength, power and speed to meet the demands of the sport. In this section you will learn the science behind developing these important motor performance abilities as the young athlete moves through puberty.

Graded: Quiz 10

Graded: Quiz 11

Graded: Quiz 12

Graded: Quiz 13

Graded: Coaching Issues


Week 5: Enhancing the fluidity of movement

Coordination and flexibility permit movements that are precise, fluid and spatially controlled. In this section we examine current knowledge about coordination and flexibility as the young child moves through early childhood and into adolescence.

Graded: Quiz 14

Graded: Quiz 15