In 2015, CrossFit Mayview wanted to reach teen athletes. So it introduced its Teen Speed, Strength and Agility program.
“The teen program is basically for any type of kid that needs general physical preparedness,” said Matt Dahle, head of the teens program. “We go through a bunch of agility drills, speed work. We also do a lot of strength training with the barbell, learning how to use dumbbells properly … similar to what CrossFit would be, but not quite CrossFit. We put our own adaptation on it for youth sports, with more of a focus so that way they can carry it over from our gym into their ball fields or courts.”
Ron Del Duca, the owner of the Box, explained he noticed two things were typically lacking in teen athletes: agility and stamina. However, more often than not, coaches of high school sports teams don’t have time to focus on those elements of training. “Both of those things are important at the high school level,” he explained.
CrossFit Mayview’s teen program focuses on getting the heart rate up and training in short bursts. Athletes from all sports – tennis, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, golf, etc. – have taken advantage of the offering. The Box sells a 10-session punch card for the program, and classes are held twice a week. Male and female athletes train together for about an hour.
While the program itself doesn’t bring in loads of revenue, Del Duca said he’s had members join after their kids tested out the teens program. So, he doesn’t see any issue with letting someone try out the class for free. “Throw it out there because most likely they are going to come back,” he explained.
When it comes to teaching teens, Dahle explained he works to make his classes engaging through constantly varying what is taught. He said teens want to be continuously challenged, and if he does the same drill for three weeks in a row, it gets old.
Plus, Dahle said he is purposefully goofy in coaching with what he calls his “cheesy cues.” He explained if he demonstrates poor kipping by flopping around like a fish, the teens register that they would look just as dumb if they do the movement improperly.
Overall, while Dahle said they’ve had parents and teens express how much the training has helped in their sport, Del Duca explained it can also be a confidence-booster.
And even more than that, it’s helping a generation know how to train throughout their sports career and beyond. It’s a foundation in fitness that will help youth as they get older. “We see a lot of adults come in, basically broken, and they haven’t done anything since high school sports because they didn’t know what they were doing at that point,” explained Dahle. “We teach [the teens] what they need to know.”