On Youth Coaching: Whatever it Takes
Over the years the kids I've worked with skiing and running have done pretty well.
It might be surprising that I believe you do whatever it takes. However, more surprising I believe that this is not a call push to kids, or to do everything that money can buy. Rather, whatever it takes is a caveat.
My basic philosophy for all levels for youth sport (endurance based, but this probably applies to other sports as well) to keep them going with a healthy attitude toward thier activity is that you do what it takes to keep them motivated and looking forward to the next level. It is as simple as that. And underlying that of course is that it is up to the young athlete to decides on their level of involvement. Not the parents, coaches, or even peers (although the latter probably do carry the most influence once they hit their teens).
Too often I have seen young, pre-or early adolescent children excel only to level off by the time they reach their mid-teens. The key is to keep them involved, working on skills and thought processes through those early years, and then when they hit 14, 15, 16 they are ready to take on the higher levels. Likewise, though, some will peak at 15 or 16, while others keep their passion and improving well into their 20s and sometimes 30s.
At the end of the day, the goal is simply to promote a fun and healthy lifestyle.