Just dropped my son to a friends house as it is a public holiday here in Belgium and talked to him about training and racing. He is 13 (14 in December - very important at that age).
On reflection, the first thing that comes to mind is that you are a caring parent wanting the best for your daughter and unsure what to do for the best and this is why you are reaching out (fairly obvious I know - but needs pointing out).
I spoke to my son about why he likes training for XC running and he said he likes the camaraderie, being part of a team and the jokes/team bonding that go with it. He also likes the sessions when he pushes himself hard.
I asked him why he likes competition and he says he loves competition and pushing himself against himself and other people and doing his best. He likes the thrill of competition. He likes the fact that at 13 (nearly 14( he’s been picked to train and race with the junior varsity team and he is holding his own, even though he could have gone for the easy option and raced with other 13 year olds and probably won. He doesn’t want the easy option.
I asked him what he likes about training on the bike with his team and he says he likes his new team and being part of the team and talking with the guys and pushing himself against them. He finds it fun to push himself.
Sadly being an English speaker in his last club he was a little ostracised and more of a target to drop, cut up or exclude rather than include even though on the face of it, it was a great club. He didn’t feel welcome. That’s kids I suppose, he isn’t Belgian and different!!
His new club is very international with Belgians as well as international riders and he feels right at home and is loving it. He also likes the cachet that they have had riders go on to be professionals.
I also asked what he likes about training with daddy (or dad in front of his friends) and he says he likes the longer rides to see new things, be in the countryside and see nice sights as well as spending time and talking with daddy. (wow my teenage son likes spending time with me and is willing to admit it).
@AkaPete The article he sent was great and is what a good club can be. If you don’t have that and can’t train in Minnesota due to the weather (I’ve just looked up the weather forecast Brrrr) you have to look elsewhere and be creative.
The focus on the article was on fun. Whatever that may be for your daughter. Fun is hard to describe. Do I find a 4DP fun, or Nine Hammers, hmmmm!? Do I sometimes feel reluctant to do a session because it is hard and afterwards feeling “I’m so glad a did that, I really enjoyed that and don’t know why I put it off”.
To my son, it is fun pushing himself, having camaraderie, time with daddy, racing, joking with friends to name but a few. He also realises that it is comfortable to stay and play on the XBox and he sometimes procrastinates, but when he gets out exercising he loves it.
I set him up on Zwift last winter as it was too dark to do anything outside and too bad weather. I asked him if he liked it and he said he liked racing other people virtually (he has an XBox!!) and he liked pushing himself. He like doing his own “intervals” - not suggested by daddy, I left him to it and that is what he ended up doing. What he didn’t like was the fact that the trainer was rubbish (it was a 20 year old trainer on virtual watts and well past its use by date).
I’ve now got the cheapest off wheel trainer (Elite Suito) and he says that he is looking forward to. He says he’d like to do some Zwift racing after his XC running seasons is done (last race Friday) and is looking forward to a more accurate trainer. He likes the fact that he can listen to his music and has a Spotify playlist for training, like his has another for chores!! Having the music motivates him and when it is any up tempo track, he pushes himself.
So, what is my point. Hmmm. I think it is to know you child and make it fun but take into account what they feel is fun. Talk to your daughter, which you clearly have. If she is asking without prompting, then it is worth considering. As long as she wants it and his having fun and you keep a mindful eye on how she is doing/feeling.
I remember when my son tried out for the XC race team. He had to be at school for 7am, so had to get up at 6am. He also had bike team training in the afternoon. He did his try out enjoyed it, but also during the day played lots of basketball with his friends. I picked him up to take him to team training and he was tired. I asked if he still wanted to do team training and he said “yes”. I took him there and he fell asleep in the car and when we got there I asked him if he still wanted to train. He really did want to train, but had clearly done a little too much during the day and was not up to a 2 hour training session, so I suggested he miss this one. He did and fell asleep on the way home.
Knowing your child and knowing what and when to do things and miss things is important. You as a parent will know your child the best, more so than a coach/doctor/teacher/whatever (I am an educator by the way).
Sooo. @Coach.Spencer.R - I would probably contact Systm to see if this is something they can do. I good coach can take into context all of the factors both intrinsic and extraneous to the child/athlete. A good coach will look into things holistically and plan a training plan around all of those factors, or if not a training plan, sessions that would be fun to do and have a positive benefit for your daughter. A plan also has to be flexible and this should be considered as well. Being able to have a bank of sessions and a flexible plan would be possible I believe.
My son likes working towards a goal too. Sorry to be so lengthy in the reply. We beat ourselves up as parents about doing the right thing for our children, so I know how you must be feeling, wanting to encourage, but not do anything to put them off or even worse, harm them.
I notice it is the first time you have posted, so welcome to the Sytm/Sufferfest community. It is great. Hope my ramblings have helped and that perhaps one of the coaches can contact you or you can contact them with the personal coaching contact form and at least have the discussion.
It would be best to do this with expert help if you are going to do it, which your daughter has already started doing. But in the end, continuing being a good parent, make things fun for your daughter, do what she finds fun and keep a watchful eye that it really is fun and she is really enjoying herself.
Also make sure she is getting the nutrition she will need. My son wasn’t getting enough protein for amount of exercise he was doing so we have had to be creative with ways of ensuring he has enough in his diet. I have seen how much this benefits him.
Good luck for you and your daughter.