6 Creative Strategies to Keep Young Athletes Engaged in Essential Drills

youth sports team management

As you surely know, mastering the fundamentals of a sport is crucial, but sometimes those essential drills and exercises can seem a bit dull. This is especially true for young athletes who would rather be playing than practicing. So, how can you make training more fun and engaging for them? In this blog, we will explore six ideas to integrate fun elements into training sessions.

6 Creative Strategies to Keep Young Athletes Engaged in Training

1. Incorporate healthy competition amongst your clients

One effective way to make training more enjoyable is by hosting some healthy competition. Even if your training primarily involves private lessons, you can create a sense of competition by sharing a leaderboard on your social media or sports business website. For example, if you own a baseball facility, you can organize a “home run derby” or a slam dunk competition. Another idea is to challenge your athletes to see how many times they can dribble a soccer ball without it touching the ground. These can be small “challenges” that are added to the end of a session, or can be incorporated to your sports lesson plans.

2. Turn drills and exercises into obstacle courses

Instead of simply running through drills, consider turning them into exciting obstacle courses. Jeremy Frisch, for instance, transforms mobility training into obstacle courses for his athletes. Rather than just performing hurdle drills, they are challenged to go over, under, around, and through various obstacles. This adds an element of fun while still providing effective training, as mentioned in his feedback on social media.

3. Coach vs. athlete competitions

Motivate your athletes by competing with them yourself. You may consider yourself “past your prime,” but engaging in friendly competition with your athletes can inspire them to push harder and give their best. At the end of a conditioning practice, you could race them for 100 meters, see who can do the most push-ups, or hold a plank the longest. These competitions can not only provide bragging rights but also foster a sense of camaraderie and determination.

4. Incorporate music into your training.

It’s no secret that music has the power to uplift mood and increase motivation. Incorporate songs into different workouts to make training sessions more enjoyable. For example, you can play “Thunder” by AC/DC, where athletes do continuous push-ups until the word “thunder” is said again.

You can also assign specific exercises to different songs or allow athletes to choose their own workout playlist. The rhythmic beats and energetic tunes can inject fun and enthusiasm into the training environment. For more information about streaming music at your sports facility, check out our guide!

5. Use equipment to spice up your drills


Another way to make training more engaging is by incorporating props into drills. Utilize resistance bands, balance boards, weight balls, and other equipment to add an element of excitement. These props not only make training more enjoyable but also provide a different sensory experience and challenge athletes in new ways. The interactive and entertaining nature of props can make the training sessions more dynamic and enjoyable for athletes.

6. Skill-centered games

As a coach or trainer, you understand the importance of practicing specific skills in a sport. One way to make skill training more fun is by changing the rules of a game to focus on the skill you want to practice. Create different scoring zones, organize a dribbling relay race, or modify existing games to emphasize specific skills. By infusing skill development into a game-like setting, athletes will be more engaged and enthusiastic about improving their abilities.

Next Steps

Incorporating these ideas into your training sessions can assist in making the learning process more enjoyable for young athletes. By striking a balance between practicing the fundamentals and incorporating fun elements, you can create an environment that fosters skill development and keeps athletes motivated and excited about their training.

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