Private Training For a 7-Year-Old… I Say Definitely!

Liz training 4 players

A friend told me yesterday that he’s pulling his kid out of little league baseball this upcoming season and instead, is hiring him a private coach.  He believes his son’s skill level will increase threefold – over if he kept him on a team. I told him it was an incredibly smart decision.

I have given all three of my own girls privates for nearly every sport they have played – since they were as young as seven.  I know this sounds excessive. Crazy. Too intense. Maybe it is.  But it has done wonders for my kid’s growth in their sports.  My philosophy is why invest time, money, and effort playing on a team if you don’t want to be really good at it?  AND it’s so much more fun if you are!

I’m not saying my kid’s team coaches haven’t been good. It’s just that it is impossible for one coach to be able to correct and teach individual skills in a large group setting.  Ever watched one of your kid’s practices? Then you’ve seen a coach give a direction or teach a skill and watched 7 of the 10 kids do it wrong. Then your kid waits in the long line, gets three attempts, does one okay and two completely wrong. It’s onto the next drill. With teams practicing once a week, how can we expect our kids to improve?

That is where private training comes in. Now you might be saying, people are crazy to spend that kind of money and that private training costs a fortune. You would be right. But...I’ve found four creative ways to make it more affordable.  

  1. Make your own private lessons semi-private: Invite a handful of kids (not more than 3-4 or it will defeat the purpose), train together and share the cost.  Not all trainers are willing to do this, but most will.  If four kids pitch in and each pay $25, it makes a $100 per hour session much more manageable.
  2. Your private instructor doesn’t have to be a pro: Find an older kid (13-18) who plays in the same club or is an older brother or sister of a teammate or even post in a Mom’s website.  We use an incredible 13-year-old who works with our 7 year old for $10 an hour.  It’s the best money ever spent.IMG_2234 2 (1)
  3. Do shorter Sessions: Even just thirty minutes of focused practice on what your child needs to improve upon is enough to make a huge difference.  This can cut the price in half if they are willing to do it. If they aren’t find another child to take the second
    half of the lesson.
  4. Offer trade for training: Do you have something they might need or want. I once created a promotional video (I’m a TV producer) for a basketball trainer in exchange for privates.

If you can get your child private training sessions, I think the more, the better.  But even if it’s only occasionally, you will see a vast improvement.  The more a child improves, the more they enjoy the games, the more they want to play!

9 Comments

  1. And one more thing. The tagline for this website is “A place for parents seeking balance, sanity and an edge in the crazy world of youth sports” and then Asia posts this piece which proposes dropping all balance and sanity. And this piece also runs 180 degrees from the recent one by Summer Sanders where she talks about the value of “life skills that are learned through the game and the team.” C’mon guys, be better than this.

    Reply
    • thanks for commenting with such passion. The reason I wanted to do this website is because there is so much passion that surrounds the subject and really no right answers. We hope to bring you many different perspectives so that we can be a resource. As a parent, you get to utilize the info as you desire. Thanks for your time.

      Reply
  2. Directed here from Alex Flanagan on Twitter. This may be one of the most ridiculous and self absorbed opinion pieces on youth sports I’ve ever read. Private coaching to improve is one thing, but going private IN PLACE of a regular team is reflection of backward priorities. Take all the benefits of team sports and throw them out if you are not on a team! A commentor above made the analogy of school tutors. Sure that makes sense as a supplement. The author here says it’s a good idea to pull a kid of a team to just have private coaching. Would that logic apply in a school setting – pulling the kid out and going 100% tutor? Unless you’re a proponent of homeschooling, probably not.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your feedback. We love hearing all sides in this and you bring up some great points. I think I should clarify that while I don’t think taking a child out of their sport JUST for personal training is a good idea, I do believe there are a lot of reasons why this could make good sense. For example, if a child or a family is suffering from travel team burnout, schedule overload, or if the child would simply like a chance to try a different sport, then skipping one season and doing privates instead is a great alternative to giving up the sport and in fact can improve their overall skills greatly if and when they return.

      Reply
      • Asia- Your comment makes sense, but it’s completely contrary to the entire first paragraph of your post: “A friend told me yesterday that he’s pulling his kid out of little league baseball this upcoming season and instead, is hiring him a private coach. He believes his son’s skill level will increase threefold – over if he kept him on a team. I told him it was an incredibly smart decision.”

        I think the arguments and suggestions you make in the rest of your post and follow up comment to me are all sound and logical, but that initial paragraph uses the wrong example to sell your points.

        Reply
  3. I think hiring a private trainer is totally justified. It was normal, growing up, to have a private tutor help out in the math/science departments. So, if we try and give kids the edge in school, why not on the playing field? Those are such formative years, that make such an impact on the rest of our lives, we should show kids what it takes to succeed: extra preparation & practice. Set the stage for adult life. And who says it isn’t fun at the same time?

    Reply
    • Such a great point. I think the greatest value comes from having someone teach your child the proper fundamentals of a sport. Too often the parents, i.e. volunteer coaches (me included) are not teaching kids the proper way to shoot, throw, set your feet, etc.

      Reply
  4. This article describes private training for a 7-year old while the previous article describes the real value of sports. Two articles that could not be more different. Your points within the article are very good and all make sense. The father that took his son out of little league for training only – to what end. Yes, he will improve, but how will we know. European youth soccer practice 4 times as much as they play, but they still play. Practice is the work and the game is where you get to show what you have learned. Without the game, the child is nothing more than hamster on a wheel.

    Reply
    • Hi Scott,

      Thanks for your feedback. I agree, that it is all about the game. But I do feel that sometimes some planning and thought about how to manage burnout and your child’s needs and sensitivities are critical. I clarified this point to another post that just came in. While I don’t think taking a child out of their sport JUST for personal training is a good idea, I do believe there are a lot of reasons why this could make good sense. For example, if a child or a family is suffering from travel team burnout, schedule overload, or if the child would simply like a chance to try a different sport, then skipping one season and doing privates instead is a great alternative to giving up the sport and in fact can improve their overall skills greatly if and when they return.

      Reply

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