Training TipsYouth and JuniorSwimStrength and Conditioning

Game Time

by USA Triathlon

girl in poolMake training fun by playing games, like these great suggestions from USA Triathlon Youth and Junior Certified Coaches.

Flamingo Face-Off

Build your balance, leg strength and focus with this fun game. Grab two or more friends and a good-sized sports ball (like a basketball) and circle up. When the person with the ball says “GO,” everyone has to bring a foot up so they are balancing on one leg (no switching legs mid-game!). Whoever has the ball will yell a name and toss the ball to that person’s chest to catch. Keep passing until someone either misses or lets their “up” foot touch the ground — that person is out, and the game continues until there are only two winners. 
— Morgan Johnson, Playtri Youth & Juniors

Train Ride

In this game you will be riding your bike in a straight line, one in front of the other. The athlete in the back of the line has to pass everyone on the outside and get to the front of the bike line as fast as they can. When they make it to the front, the new person at the back passes until they get to the front. Go through the game until everyone has had a turn, communicating with each other while you are passing. You’ll have fun while working on your bike handling and communication skills.
— Brooks Doughtie, All Out MultiSport

Deck Dive Fun

You’ll need a diving well or deep pool, whistle and gels and bars. Get in a side plank facing away from the pool, and then your coach or parent will throw the gel, bar or another fun item into the water and blow the whistle. The gels sink and the bars usually float. When the whistle blows, everyone turns and dives into the water and races to see who can get the reward. You’ll be practicing your dive start like in Youth F1 races, gaining lateral strength through the side plank and working on quick athletic movements and fast swimming. 
— Greg Mueller, Team IE Pro

Sharks & Minnows

Our team plays a game at the end of most practices, including kid-created obstacle courses and variations on running and bike tag. But by far, the most popular is an old standby: Sharks and Minnows. Play on an open field. Two to three “sharks” stand in the middle and the rest of the kids will be minnows. When your coach yells go, the minnows try to run to the opposite end of the field without getting tagged by a shark or running out of bounds. If you’re tagged or run out of bounds, you become a shark, too. The last remaining minnow is the winner. 
— Christine Palmquist, MMTT Youth Development Team