Growing concern about sporting stress has prompted the Scottish Athletics Federation to produce a guide for coaching young people. "Personal Best" warns that children should not be treated as "miniature adults" and says coaches should act accordingly.
The best time to work on basic skills is said to be between the ages of eight and 11 for girls and 8-13 for boys. Primary children should be introduced to athletics through "play and learn" games.
Out-of-school athletic activity sessions of 30 minutes should be limited to once a week for children aged five to eight. Between the ages of eight and 12, out-of-school activities of 45 minutes should be kept to once or twice a week.
Training should not be introduced until the ages of 13 to 15 and with an emphasis on enjoyment and skills. Specialised training should take place at 15-17 years and beyond.