It is important to understand pre-pubertal and pubertal physiological development of girls and boys in order to gauge expectations and plan an appropriate training schedule for them. Both sexes have a growth rate (height) of approximately 4-8cm per year during pre-pubertal years (6-12 yrs old). At the point of puberty there is a rapid increase in the growth of the arms, legs and overall body length. Generally this occurs around the age of 11yrs for girls and 12-13 yrs for boys. Girls experience this rapid growth period before boys but to a lesser extent overall. During this period the growth rate is approximately 8-15cm/yr. In most cases this growth spurt lasts 1-2 yrs. Between the ages of 16-18yrs the growth generally begins to stop.
An understanding of common symptoms facing players going through puberty is needed for youth coaching staff. These symptoms are relatively severely in around 1/3 of players going through this period. Both sexes can experience difficulties in co-ordination with the rapid increases in body lengthening. Tasks and movements that the player was previously able to perform have to be relearned. Girls also develop more fat (adipose tissue) during this period, opposed to boys. Changes in appearance (facial bone development) can also be more apparent. Players may feel more fatigue as the body responds to a lack of food in response fueling physical growth. Players may experience growing pains, in particular at the end of the bones (hips joints, knee joints, etc).