Primary School Rugby recently caught up with Hanno van Vuuren, strength and conditioning coach at Gene Louw Primary. We asked his views on strength and conditioning and his current activities at Gene Louw Primary

The definition of strength and conditioning is ever evolving as the field is broad and can encompass different concepts. In short S&C, is preparing the body for the physical demands of the sport, but each coach could have different goals for their season. The two main goals for me as S&C coach is to firstly prevent injury and secondly to adequately prepare players to be optimally perform in their sport(s).

The why behind a growing kids S&C program, should be to remember that as they grow they need to become re-accustomed to using their bigger and longer levers. Thus the why should be teaching movement and creating an environment where they grow in confidence when moving. On primary school level, I think the main emphasis should be moving in all planes on motion and to ensure they have the tools to prevent injury. What better way to prevent a fractured collarbone than teaching a child how to use their momentum when falling and convert it into a forward roll.

Kids develop and grow at different rates and different chronological ages and we tend to forget that fact. In this digital age where kids can’t wait to get home to play games or are so glued to screens’ we need to re-teach them to move. I think a powerful tool at our disposal is using sports and games that they know to reach our objectives.

When looking at this “program”, I wouldn’t recommend only one specific set of exercises I would rather start at the most prominent injuries in a sport and work backwards.

If we look at frequency or how often you need to perform these movement or S&C sessions – it all depend on the athlete. If they play some form of sports they are getting some form of movement exposure. It is however the responsibility of the parents and coaches to pick-up in which planes of motion the kids are not confident, and work from there.

Lastly – kids will be kids, don’t take that away from them for short term gain, some kids might pick up on your cues immediately, some might not understand what needs to be done. Patience and fun is key! That is where,  the fun as coach comes in; take a step back, re-evaluate and try to teach them something new tomorrow.