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Tips to Building Endurance

What actually is Endurance?
       Endurance training for young athletes is often a misunderstood topic. On one hand, there are strength coaches who tend to disregard developmentally sound elements of endurance training in lieu of producing stronger and faster athletes, while on the other hand, there are over-zealous coaches and trainers who equate endurance to long distance / duration activities, often with little regard for the athlete's stage of development, ability or current level of conditioning.

Definition of Endurance
       Endurance is defined as one's ability to withstand fatigue or the ability to control the functional aptitude of movement while experiencing external stress. The latter definition lends itself well to the concept of athletic development and training young athletes. One thing to consider is that the term endurance has application to varying lengths and types of effort:
  • Long slow distances – efforts of limited intensity but high distance or time
  • Speed – efforts typically lasting 15 – 45 seconds with high levels of intensity but obviously limited time or distance
  • Muscular – the ability to sustain a muscular contraction for a prolonged period of time

       There are several factors to consider with respect to the development of endurance in a young athlete:

  • Mechanical / Coordination / Movement – Efficiency of movement is a key factor in the endurance capabilities of a young athlete. Poor mechanics lead to higher degrees of fatigue. To truly increase the ability of a young athlete, coaches and trainers must exercise patience and teach proper movement habits rather than prescribe endless numbers of sets. It is critical to remember that perfecting technique can effectively improve endurance without increasing training volume.
  • Body Type – The more overweight a young athlete is, the less endurance they will likely have. Excess body weight (particularly in the form of fat) decreases endurance because of increased energy cost. Additionally, being overweight often leads to poor mechanical efficiency.
  • Psychological – Many young athletes do not possess significant amounts of mental toughness. To combat this, some trainers and coaches opt to make drills and exercises purposefully difficult in order to produce some sort of perceived mental strength. Given that both the physical structure as well as mental potency of a youngster is tenuous, this philosophy can lead to burnout or injury. A more prudent approach to this issue is to systematically present challenges that respect a young athlete's individuality as well as their current stage of development and offer positive feedback at the conclusion. This will progressively improve endurance and develop confidence to attempt new and more challenging things.

       It is important to understand that endurance training is critical for long-term development and not immediate results. Developing good endurance allows the young athlete to tolerate an increased amount of exercise stimulus in the future. Don't become pre-occupied with immediate effects. Like any other aspect of athletic development, endurance training is part of a continual, multi-tiered effort.

       There are several key points to remember when designing endurance-based training programs for young athletes. The most crucial aspect is to start with a broad aerobic base. This will raise the anaerobic threshold of the athlete (delay the need to use anaerobic sources of energy during activity) and allow the athlete to tolerate increased loads in the future.

       Begin this aerobic-based phase with low to moderate volumes. Children, although physiologically more fit than the average adult, still must begin their training programs gradually, working up to longer durations and higher intensities.

       As with all athletic development, it is important to alter the type of endurance training you do with young athletes. Think in terms of seasonal activities – In the summer, enjoy swimming. In the autumn, change to hiking or cycling. In wintertime, offer stimulus such as snow-shoeing or cross country skiing.

       Notice how the suggestions are movement-based activities, NOT going to the gym to run on a treadmill. Often we forget how important movement and coordination-based activities are for young athletes. Do not train kids on single function pieces of fitness equipment. There is a definitive crossover with all exercise stimulus and young athletes.

Editor’s Note: A special thank you to author Brian Grasso who researched and
developed this article.

Written by CaresEditor · Filed Under Youth Hockey Training

Recommended Reading:

See Endurance Training

Altitude Training  Unquestionably, acclimatization to altitude improves performance at high levels but can altitude training improve an athlete's performance at sea-level?

Lactate Tolerance Training  Lactate tolerance training will help you to recover more quickly from successive bursts of speed and power. It will increase your tolerance to lactic acid and allow you maintain a high work rate for longer.


Sports Training

Optimize Endurance Training  Wanting to optimize his/her endurance training, you begin some background research and quickly discover that the lactate threshold is the best predictor of endurance performance.

Endurance Training for Sports - What is Cardiovascular and Aerobic Fitness?  Endurance training in sport refers to an athlete's ability to sustain prolonged exercise for minutes to hours. Endurance training improves the circulatory and and respiratory systems to supply energy to the working muscles in order to support sustained physical activity.

PDF  Concurrent Strength and Endurance Training for Strength/Power Athletes, such as American football, throwing events in track and field, and sprinting are characterized by the demonstration of high power outputs. The principle of training specificity requires that athletes competing in these activities train using exercises which maximize power output. These exercises may include the weightlifting sport lifts and their variations, plyometrics, and medicine ball training. However, many of the strength/power sports involve maximal efforts which must be repeated after relatively short rest periods. Thus, some strength and conditioning professionals believe that the addition of aerobic endurance training may offer some benefits to strength/power athletes

Training Considerations


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Physical and Mental Training Considerations
Learning & Training Evaluation Theory
Exercises to Develop Coordination
Training Approaches
Training Strategies
Daily Training Tasks
Principle Of Variation
Training Transfer
Off-Season Conditioning
Peak Performance Training
Endurance Training
Building Endurance
PDF  Weight training Exercises
PDF  Strength Training Exercises
PDF  Power Skating Classes
PDF  Core Body Training
PDF  Endurance Training Plan

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