How to Help Kids Develop Basic Athletic Skills

One of the most important points that coaches and parents need to be aware of when working with young athletes is the difference between an adult's body and the developing body of a child or teenager.

While it may be hard for some to remember what it was like living in a smaller, growing body, it's essential that we acknowledge the limitations so we can help younger athletes reach higher expectations.

As parents and coaches, we need to be cognizant of some general areas of conditioning specific to relevant age groups.

Kids learn the very basic aspects of sports during the elementary school years (ages 5 to 10). At this age, things like flexibility, motor skills, hand-eye coordination and balance are being fine tuned. Regardless of specific sports, you can encourage athletic development through general drills that focus on:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Throwing/Catching
  • Balance
  • Coordination

The basic areas of growth we want to target for athletes, and young people in general for daily functioning include: strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination.

More: Your Guide to Sports Parenting


Strength training for this age group is quite simple. A child's body weight is an acceptable amount of resistance to support growth of healthy bones and muscle mass. If you plan to implement an actual strength/conditioning program involving resistance or weights, be very careful that you research proper limitations and safety guidelines.

More: Family Fitness: Fun Exercises For Kids

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About the Author

Breakthrough Basketball

Breakthrough Basketball provides a variety of resources and information for basketball coaches, players and parents-including free eBooks, articles, videos, instructional DVDs, camps, apps and forums. Visit their website at to become a better coach or player.

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