Dear Coach: My son is eight and plays soccer, baseball and
basketball. But he's very thin so he gets pushed around a lot. He
wants to know how he can get stronger. What can he do?
NOT PUMPED UP
Dear Pumped: Traditionally, weight training for prepubescents has
been discouraged out of fear it could damage a child's growth
plates. However, according to Steve Kanter, head trainer for the
New Jersey Gladiators Arena Football team, kids can start lifting
as young as age eight, as long as they're carefully supervised.
The best training program is to work with light weights no more
than two or three times a week. Repetitions should be limited to
a number the child can easily handle. Bulk lifting is a definite
no-no. "Also, avoid nutritional supplements," says Kanter, unless
your kid's doctor suggests a special diet for your son.
Dear Coach: My 12-year-old son is a good basketball player, but
he has attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As the
level of play grows more complex, he's having trouble learning
plays. What can he do?
Dear Losing: Kids with ADHD require special consideration from
their coaches. "Work with your child's coach to make sure complex
plays are broken down into smaller, more digestible units," says
pediatric neurologist Robert Wolff. "Coaches also need to be
patient when introducing new drills." In addition, says Wolff,
check with your doctor about modifying your son's medicine
schedule before practices and games. Tweaking his dosage at the
right times can yield noticeable results.
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