What Endurance Training are you doing with your athletes?

Endurance Training for Kids


Endurance training for kids is the absolute foundation for all structured training programs.

What is endurance training?
What type of training is going guarantee success?

  1. Endurance involves the bodies muscles ability to continually function over a sustained period of time.
  2. Endurance has two main components, aerobic and anaerobic.
  3. Aerobic activities are ones where the body has time to supply energy via blood and oxygen to the working muscles. 
  4. Anaerobic activities involve the bodies muscles working with their limited stored energy without replenishment. 
  5.  An anaerobic example are the short sprints in sports games or individual events up to 90 seconds.
  6. Between 90 seconds and 3 minutes it is a combination of both anaerobic and aerobic.
  7. The longer the sprint, game, the more the body moves to aerobic power.
  8. The body can be trained to tolerate long periods of aerobic exercise (cross country running, triathlon)
  9. The body can be trained to become more efficient in anaerobic exercise but the 90 second time line cannot be overly extended.

Endurance Training for kids

All kid’s sports activities require the athletes to possess a minimum level of fitness to allow participation.  As coach, if you improve the kid's fitness levels, the fun and enjoyment level also increases. The kid's have more FUN!

Developing kids fitness and their endurance levels is made easier by most kids being very active in other parts of their lives.  

Sports coaches will encounter kids who struggle for a number of reasons; overweight, low self esteem, laziness, and lack of parental support.

CLICK HERE for specific tips to help the types of kids listed above.

Endurance Training Programs

Sports coaches have to sell the message of fitness and why it's important.  Endurance training for kids can be incorporated into every part of a training session.  

Variety is the kid’s sports coach best weapon in improving kids fitness.  Keep them guessing.  Keep it fresh.  Disguise kids endurance training into games, training drills and modified games.  


Where does Endurance Training for Kid's fit into the yearly plan?

The yearly training phases have varying degrees of endurance training for kid's within there structure.

Pre Season - is dominated by aerobic endurance activities.  Anaerobic training is increased as the competition phase draws closer.

Competition Season - both aerobic and anaerobic exercise are included, but a major focus is placed on the energy system most required for the specific sport or activity.

Taper - a definite reduced level of aerobic activity and increased anaerobic activity to help the body ‘peak’.

Post Season - have a rest!

Off Season - cross train, participate in a non competitive activity or play a different sports game.  Representative athletes may use the off season to improve their ‘weaknesses’.

Swimming endurance training

Sports coaches achieve outstanding levels of kid’s endurance by:

  • keeping the endurance training exercises fun and enjoyable.  Lots of relays, circuits, and team work drills.
  • coaches and other parents becoming involved and doing the endurance training exercises with the kid’s.
  • being very consistent in training by ensuring fitness activities are the basis for all training session activities. 
  • having a specific goal event or competition planned that you as coach and the athletes can use as motivation.
  • making a record of your sessions and evaluating the results at the completion of the season. 
  • making the necessary adjustments to past training programs to increase the chances of athlete improvement next season.

Endurance training programs

Cross Country, Triathlon and Swimming are sports that are dominated by coaches delivering endurance training programs for Kids.

Endurance training programs has seen a large amount of research due to the growing popularity of long distance triathlons. Sadly not many studies have focused on children and teenagers.

I have referred to Total Training for Young Champions as a worthwhile resource with many excellent ideals to keep my training programs fresh. Watching other coaches is another effective way of picking up ideas.

The kid’s need to make the connection between the endurance activities you are subjecting them too and the sports game or activity they compete in.  

You as coach need to break the sport down and identify what levels of endurance are required.  Develop programs that improve the sports specific endurance demands for your sport.

Successful endurance training for kids - keep the kid’s focused, motivated, challenged without totally physically and mentally destroying them and be very forthcoming with positive praise.

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Endurance training is demanding. I encourage my athletes to wear Compression Shorts.

Although the science is divideded whether these types of garments are effective, in the kids minds they feel confident training and competing in them.

Next time your watching junior sport, take note of how many athletes are wearing them!

Remember the old saying 'if you can't be a pro at least look like one!"