I have been involved with youth and junior triathlon for 12 years at the local, regional, and national levels.
My kids exposed me to the sport at local YMCA event and I’ve been hooked ever since. While that first race was my daughter’s last, my son went on to compete for 10 more years, reaching the Junior Elite level in the ITU/Draft Legal standard.
I have been active with my son’s various teams in a variety of roles and was inspired to earn my Level 1 USAT Coaching certification to assist my son with his remote coaching, in addition to expand my personal knowledge of the sport. I am currently a USAT Level 1 Youth & Junior Certified Coach, and Level 1 USA Track & Field Certified Coach. I also have Red Cross Certifications in Lifeguarding, CPR/AED, and First Aid.
My philosophy towards youth and junior coaching can best be summed up by the words “it has to be fun.” I believe there has been entirely too much emphasis on “winning” and not nearly enough on athlete development.
Youth sports has become an arms race to the bottom. Travel/ “Elite” teams for 8 year olds, National Rankings for 12 & Unders, essentially all about the right now in sake of long term development. Sports and fitness should be fun activities for today’s youth as the rigors of schooling and other activities are hectic enough without additional burdens being added to their plate.
Those factors are why I believe in Triathlon as a sport for the youth and juniors of today. The sport offers balance, develops character, instills grit and fosters determination — ALL worthwhile traits that are needed for success in life. The sport, at the youth level, also helps develop as sense of independence in the athlete-parental participation is kept to a minimum at this level, this helps the developing athlete learn their own boundaries and gain confidence at their own pace.