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The Youth Physical Development Model: What To Expect & When

Children are constantly growing both mentally and physically. There have probably been times when your child walks in the room and you swear they have grown five inches overnight. 

There is a common misconception out there that speed and/or strength training at an early age may be harmful to children’s growth and development, when in fact, youth training and exercise is beneficial to your child’s physical and mental maturation! 

With that being said, it is important that the training that your child is participating in is age-appropriate and is fostering positive development and not negative. 

You may be asking yourself “How do I know if my child is receiving age-appropriate, beneficial training?” Well you can take a deep breath because they are enrolled at Parisi Speed School, which ensures that they are participating in a safe and effective training program! 

We are here to ease your mind a little more about your child’s physical development and break down what changes are normal to see in your child’s physical growth.

Physical Development: What Happens When? 

Your child is at the most crucial time period for development. They are learning everything from simple movements like a jog, to more complex skills like changing direction and accelerating for the first time. 

In fact, ages 6-11 years old for girls and 7-13 years old for boys are known as the “golden age of motor learning” and is the most crucial window of opportunity for learning new motor skills. 

During these ages is when your children are learning to really move for the first time. They are learning spatial awareness, coordination skills, fine and gross motor skills and more complex movements. 

Physical development is going to look different for every kid, so a general benchmark to follow is that by the age of 12 basic motor patterns like running, sprinting, jumping, landing and other movements like catching and throwing should be mastered.

Age-appropriate speed and strength training will help to foster growth and maturation that is needed to master these basic motor patterns and movements. 

Training and Physical Development

Positive and smart training at an early age will lead to positive physical development! It is crucial that your children are learning from experienced and certified trainers who will set them up for success. After all, they are building their movement platform!

As your child gets older, their training can and should get more intense and incorporate new techniques and focus. 

While speed and strength training can both be done appropriately for all young athletes, the development of each tends to peak at different ages. 

At an early age, specifically between the ages of 6-13 is when children see gains in speed due to the large amounts of physical and cognitive changes that are occurring during these ages. Speed training helps to foster this development and ultimately lead to the ability to perform the basic motor movements that we discussed before. 

On the other hand, different types of strength tend to improve a little later on.

Relative strength improves between the ages of 12-15 due to an increased ability to recruit muscle fibers.

During this time strength training is done with the purpose of supporting the improvement of basic movements. 

Muscular strength significantly increases after puberty and after age 15 strength training is mostly intended to improve strength and power, often to improve performance in their sport. 

Studies have shown a positive correlation between lower body muscular strength and sport performance for both male and female adolescents!  

The last developmental aspect that we will briefly take a look at is peak height velocity and peak weight velocity. Both occur between the ages of 12-14 depending on your child’s age and gender. 

We have just given you a general overview on training and physical development. It is important to remember that your child is going to master these skills and develop at their own pace! Regardless of when they hit each training milestone, be sure to support them to keep them confident and wanting to participate! 

Normal Development and Training: What It Should Look Like 

You now hopefully have an understanding of the general physical development your child should be experiencing! 

We have some final thoughts that you can look back on whenever you question if your child’s sudden Flash-like abilities or if their training program is age-appropriate and meeting their needs!

Normal Development and Training 

  • Mastering of basic motor patterns (running, jumping, landing) and other movements (catching, throwing).
    • Before age 12 
  • Train to Learn: Training intended to develop speed, and master basic motor patterns and fundamental motor skills.
    • 6-11 yrs
  • Improvement in muscular strength, the ability to produce power.
    • Girls: 11-14 yrs
    • Boys: 13-16 yrs 
  • Peak height and weight changes – change in weight tends to occur before the change in height.
    • 12-14 yrs old, gender dependent 
  • Train to Train: Training to master the technical aspects needed to compete in sport, improve strength and power. 
    • 12-15 yrs
  • Train to Compete: Training is sport-specific basic skills have been mastered, performance focused training.
    • 15 yrs and older

These bullet points serve as a simplified timeline for your child’s physical development and the training that they should be receiving depending on their age and skill level.

At Parisi Speed School, every training session that your child attends is designed specifically for them and their specific needs. We understand the importance of age-appropriate and positive training to foster physical growth and development in your child!

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