Kids develop at different rates. From their first steps, to throwing a ball, to jumping and climbing, to running and swimming, no two kids are the same. The CrossFit Kids program breaks their development up into 4 stages, PreSchools, Kids, PreTeens and Teens. We can put an age category to it, but really it comes down to the individual child’s development. I take in for account physical ability, cognitive ability and behaviour. Even once a child is placed in one of these development groups, they will still learn and develop at their own rate. Below are the general principals I follow for each age group.
This class is 100% all about having fun. I start the session with one tiny bit of skill work. I focus on one movement while I have their full attention to develop a single movement patten. Normally this will only go for 2-4 minutes. The rest of the class is keeping them moving and having fun, one game to another. Introducing behaviours of sharing, waiting their turn, counting and encouraging others.
At this age our kids movement patterns are rapidly advancing. Learning to jump, hang, swing, throw and catch, in as many scenarios as possible. The trick is to never let them think they have failed or can’t do something. The kids class are very fragile in moods and can be easily turned away from exercise. We start with a fun interactive warm up, then while they are excited and engaged we practice a skill, we then go into my main focus being the workout and then finish with their main focus being the GAME.
At this age youth become more understanding of correcting their movement. Skills can be development and more complex movements introduced, Handstands, Cartwheels, Weightlifting, Olympic rings, running drills and skipping practice. The PreTeens are able to develop the movements patterns learnt in PreSchool and Kids to use them in development of their athletic performance. At this age they start to really understand the importance of team work and encouraging others.
This class looks a lot like an adults class, teenagers are ready to move, train and be pushed like an adult. The reason for keeping them in their own class is because they are still growing and their bodies are changing. Teens need to be supervised and supported through these changes. They may need to slow down and learn movements again as their bodies grow. Teens want to go fast and lift heavy, at this development level it is my responsibility to keep them safe. This is a very important age in our youths physical development, the challenges and stresses their bodies will face at this age will be a determining factor of how they adapt for the future.
Stepping Up to the Next Age
It hard to determine when a child should move up to the next development stage. Going up to early may place to much pressure on the child and holding them back to long may lead to boredom. It will always be hard for a child stepping up to the next development stage, but once they find their feet and get use to the new structure of the class they will excel. The movements and skill developed in the earlier class will assist them in rapidly progressing in the next development stage.
At each development stage children are supported and encouraged to improve their physical abilities to help them perform in sport and life. At all ages the training must be Safe, Fun, Challenging and Rewarding, with the ultimate goal of preparing them for their future.