Guest Blog- Youth Development, Trials and Tribulations

Guest blogger Elliot Taylor is a straight up beast! I first met Elliot when introduced through a mutual friend. I immediately could sense his passion for not only his craft, but foremost his desire to learn in an egoless way. There are few in this game I would consider my go to peeps. Those you can ask the stupid questions to, be open to many a disagreement on coaching frameworks, and quite simply level headed advice. I'm fortunate to say Elliot is one of them.

Elliot has been with me at Newington College, followed by 3 seasons in multiple roles at the Parramatta Eels where he paved his own path in the development space. To now Trinity Grammar School. When I first heard of Elliot's appointment my first thought was wow! How lucky these students are going to be having someone like this shape their lives! Which is also why I was incredibly excited to have him contribute to The Sporting Parent.

In my current role I work at Trinity Grammar School in Summer Hill NSW as Athletic Development and Performance Specialist (take a breath)… a very fancy title for Head of Strength and Conditioning. My role entails providing a physical syllabus for all children that are enrolled within the school. My programs work on long term athletic development and physical movement literacy, starting with the basics.

I want the children leaving our school system to know how to jump, squat, and sprint correctly so they can develop and exercise safely. I want to give them the best chance to succeed and do so well.

Whether it be athletically in their chosen sport, or simply use their gym membership without creating a long term injury. I try to make exercise and movement enjoyable and a long term activity for our young men.

Working in a school with adolescents, I would have to say the biggest challenge is training load. To the parents out there this simply means how much your child is training.

As parents we know it’s such a wonderful feeling to be able to give our children the opportunity to try any and all hobbies and sports. I too believe variety is the spice of life, especially at that age. It’s awesome to trial things to get to know where your passion/or strengths lie.

However, each sport comes with different variables, different training methods, and the possibility of different injuries - so my biggest challenge and my every day motivation is how to build each student's capacity whilst supporting them in multiple sports being safe in the process.

Youth seem to lack freedom of play. I have worked with many youth athletes in my time which have extremely busy schedules and multiple convoluted training programs. A demand to be good at academics while training full time for a sport is a lot to ask of an adult let alone a teenager.

I was listening to a podcast where the head of physical performance at an EPL youth academy said that he wanted to make their testing: a challenge to see if the child could climb a tree. What he was outlining is in this generation our youth are more stagnant now than ever! When we do exercise we seem to be choosing and specialising one sport far too early than we previously did. That we lack the versatility of movement seen by our predecessors.

Something I heard frequently while working at Parramatta was just how strong and powerful the under 16’s (Harold Matthews) and 18’s (SG Ball) had gotten. But that they were nowhere near as skilful as previous generations!

In finishing I'd just like to say as a parent be open and have conversations with the coaches taking care of your child’s athletic and skill development. You would be surprised how receptive and open coaches are in discussing both internal and external loads that are put on your child. These discussions are imperative to how they can help manage your child's training loads.

A big thanks to Elliot Taylor for his invaluable insights, and the time he took to contribute to The Sporting Parent. Feel free reach out and follow Elliot's journey on:

Instagram: elliot_taylor.snc

To stay up to date with upcoming guest blogs subscribe to our list, and join our Facebook group with other likeminded parents to hear their thoughts and experiences along the way.

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