Training the developing brain, part I: cognitive developmental considerations for training youth

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Sep-Oct;12(5):304-10. doi: 10.1097/01.CSMR.0000434106.12813.69.


Based on the fundamental principles of pediatric exercise science and developmental physiology, childhood provides a critical window to develop the physical readiness of youth through age-related training programs that are designed purposely to teach and reinforce fundamental movement skills to enhance preparedness for physical activity and sport. Successful implementation of developmental programs requires age-related instruction by qualified professionals who understand the physical and psychosocial uniqueness of children and adolescents. An understanding of the interaction of physical and cognitive development is needed to design and implement training strategies that optimize training outcomes. Regular training with structured and integrative modalities throughout the developmental years as part of physical education, recreation, and sports practice can improve athletic performance while reducing common sports-related injuries and can facilitate the adoption of healthy lifestyles throughout adulthood. In this commentary, we outline cognitive developmental considerations in youth that may influence the design and implementation of training programs aimed at optimizing motor skill development in youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Brain* / physiology
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognitive Reserve / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / methods*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*