Youth Fitness Protocols: Am I Being Unfair?




Youth fitness Questions

A great number of posts were placed on my blog yesterday.


Some in support of my thoughts regarding the golf video I displayed and some
in complete opposition (calling me, in fact, "mean spirited").


Now you know me.


I’ve never been one to shy away from a good debate and certainly never afraid
to admit that I’m wrong.


But instead of defending my position on yesterday’s topic, I wanted to
encourage you to post your thoughts.


Don’t defend me for no good reason.


If you feel I’m being overly harsh, please say so.


Unfair, too critical…. Lay it on.


If you think I’m correct in my assessment, explain why.


I love good, healthy debate and firmly believe that a revolution won’t have near
the impact it could unless disagreeing sides can be fostered, each given the
opportunity to convince the other.


I’m going to stay out of it… All I want to do is read and learn from what you
have to say.


Be honest, critical, encouraging and diplomatic.


Change in youth fitness and sport won’t come easily, but I have no intention
of ignoring any and all opinions.


So, what say you?


If you need to, review yesterday’s post and re-watch the video, then add your comments below.



– Brian


PS – Change won’t happen without you.


Click here to become part of the fastest growing and most important revolution in the
entire fitness and sports industry & see what kind of impact you can really have.


33 Responses

  1. Andy Sasimowicz says:

    I have worked with young children from ages 5-14yr the past 30years and I see no problem in this persons attitude(His words and encouragement) to this young child.I cannot comment on the technique and skill of teaching golf because I have no idea of this sport and what it takes to become a champion.Its easy in Life Brian to destroy than create and I have seen enough to last me a life time.The IYCA I trust Brian was set up to help each other and not kill the individual either coach or child by poor or inappropriate teaching.If we have something to say then it needs to be constructive and put into a development and mentoring phase for both pupil and teacher.We all need to keep up the good work but be humble and dont forget where we have come from!!!

  2. andy_english says:

    Have any of you trained a child as young as the one in the video all the way through to adulthood. If so what did you do all those years ago that you would do different now?
    In my opinion I think Brian and some of you posters get a bit carried away with how much the coach athlete relationship at an early age matters .
    From my experience the individual athlete matures and makes personal choices every few years, whether that be about his coach , sport, team or activity levels.
    The biggest decisions they make are at the age of 17(in England) in my experience, and believe me Coaches you are the least of their problems or desires. Lack of opportunity and poor planning after adolescence will be the hardest thing they face.

  3. Joe Haefner says:

    I do think the golf guy was kidding around somewhat, but I absolutely do not think Brian was being too harsh. Like mentioned, there are too many parents/coaches that would take this seriously and injure or burnout their children.

    Andy, I can sit here and tell you a million things I would do differently to avoid some of my injuries and surgeries that was mostly due to faulty training at a younger age. However, I didn’t know any better and I didn’t have anybody teaching me the right things to do.

    That’s why coaches and parents are SO important.

  4. Carlos says:

    I do not think it is a matter of creating a debate, but making full blown accusations out of a 2 minute video is silly. We know nothing about how this guy teaches his students. All I got, is that he is a nice person and he creates good rapport. Maybe he uses different techniques with different students, and all we saw was one aspect, one view. Let’s be fair and judge once we see the whole picture, not just a small clip.

  5. Andy Sasimowicz says:

    Liz you are spot on and thats what makes the IYCA the leaders in child and youth development.In the UK we have a game called soccer which is massive and every parent or most I see look no further than the game itself.We have seen enough through Brians work and the IYCA family to realise what specialisation can do and cannot do.If I told you that professional academies in the Uk are recruiting at 4 years!!!I think we can agree that your words are so true.I am terrified for these children and thats why I joined the IYCA to be with people from all over the world who care.Well done.

  6. Jeff says:

    Honestly…It sounds like you are just trying to show the world that you know more than everyone else. The coach was entertaining and there just wasnt enough there to have a clue what kind of coaching is going on. You must be seeking far and wide to find people to trash to make yourself look better. I have asked for information about your training and certification on many sepearate occasions and I was ignored every time. When I teach 5 year olds martial arts, I follow your rule…just go out and beat the crap out of each other…dont worry about technique…dont worry about twisting into your punches, dont keep your hands up…after they get kicked in the head they will learn by themselves. Don’t get me wrong..I understand what you are saying…I just cant believe you are saying it. I would recomend less marketing and more substance..and better customer service.

  7. David Gilks says:

    I think that things like “bag skating” abd other forms of youth abuse is so prevelant that is is easily accepted by parents. I find that if all I do is work on developing better mechanical balance with an athlete he/she will become faster stronger before I even start training for that activity. Developing multi-planar control is easy and fun and is key in foundational development. An athlete does require the ability to discern subtle differences in feel and control before you can make very precise cues and demands, and that does require a certain level of maturity not generally found in a 7 year old. (or even 17 year old at times) I find it hard to change the minds of the old school trainers that range of motion, joint stability and proprioception is more important then teaching an athlete how to move fast badly or how to produce force poorly….

    David Gilks

  8. Kaiser says:

    There were many good comments yesterday. My comment goes away from the training to the current culture of parenting in the United States. The video made light-hearted fun of the ‘desire to be a champion’ at such a young age. The sad fact is that there are many parents in the United States who start there children along this path at the age of 5 and even earlier. One of my friends has had his daughter in golf lessons ‘to make her a future champion’ since the age of 4. The question is, ‘At what cost?’ And I’m not talking about future potential for injury or even burnout.

    Many people will argue that the former Soviet bloc and China identify exemplary children at a young age and take them away from their parents and hone them into champions. That’s true. In fact, one can see the same pattern in the United States if you go down to Bradenton Florida and check out the Bollettieri tennis academy. That was the US’ answer to the lack of a young training program comparable to other countries in the mid to late 70s. We didn’t see enough future champions coming up the US ‘pipeline’. But are we really creating champions? Has it been effective? The US has had a notable drought in world-class tennis players, certainly on the men’s side, since that time. Those that came before, guys like Connors and McEnroe, didn’t come up through a ‘system’. In fact, Connors was taught on public courts by his mother. Looking at the US champions on the women’s side, the most notable examples again, the Williams sisters, were taught by their father.

    So the question is, is this training by coaches at a very young age (Brian would call it specialization) to ‘create champions’ even effective? I would argue no…. having seen the vast majority of children who end up on the trashbin of their sport, having lost their childhoods, hating their sport and competition in general, or injured for the rest of their lives.

    I played competitive tennis as a child through the age of 20, having taken it up at the relatively late age of 15. I saw many children forced into the game early, hating it, their parents deriding their child’s errors from the sidelines at competitive matches, telling them they needed to be better to be champions, the children literally crying on court. It was evident for me that it was not fun for those kids, and I often took pity on them after matches when I won because I knew they were in for a bad car ride back home.

    So, the question for me as a parent is ‘at what price’? The video, while not serious about it, was an indicator of one of the underlying problems that exist in athletic training of children in the United States. Want to create your child into a champion from a young age? My answer to that is Todd Marinovich.

  9. Carl says:

    Seemed to me the kid really wasn’t that in to being there and doing that. It also seemed to me the golf pro was using this kid to do some marketing, and, that didn’t seem too appropriate. The references to raising a superstar all over the site, and, his talk of fans, and saying how this kid was a sure thing, etc. seemed way out of line and over the top. Putting this kid on the web and saying all these things is exploiting the kid. This kid deserves better from his parents an coaches. Good point though about getting the right size club – that is valid. But just let the kid hit some balls out of the spotlight and play. It was a good example of what can be wrong with youth sports today.

  10. Dave Lenox says:

    To the extent that he wanted to get the point across that club length is important, the video was OK. My problem is that he used the child as a prop and a ‘straight man’ for his jokes. As a coach, I want to see an athlete engaged in the activity and showing signs of active learning. That was NOT happening. We need to value the athlete experience in everything we do. Being a ‘prop’ is not a particularly rewarding experience for most people – even if they are 5.

  11. Liz Donnelly says:

    Here’s what I see:
    1. A “pro” coach who is trying to appease Matthew’s parents and all parents of aspiring golf athletes or shall I say “super stars”? That message speaks volumes to me: “Hey, mom & dad, your kid will be a super star with my ‘expert’ coaching. If I give him enough hugs, then you’re going to see me as a kind-hearted guy on top of that!” As a parent, I see him as phony and scary. Why the heck are you training a 5-year-old golfing skills?! My kids are 6,4,2, for heavens sake, and I have yet to put even the oldest in a sport. 5 years old?! The parents are dreaming of a life. Let your kid play tag and save some money.

    2. The video may seem innocent enough, but it does espouse a philosophy worthy of criticism and analysis: if we continue to allow sports specialization at a young age, then we will continue to make excuses for overuse injuries in children. If you don’t care that kids get injured (almost 2 million kids each year, according to the CDC, were in the ER the previous year w/a sports injury), then keep believing that this coach is A-OK in his approach.

    3. This coach fortifying a wall of misconception that we need to engage kids in sports specific training at very young ages. Whether he is uneducated about injury or in denial is not my place to judge. He is undermining natural child development and is aiding youth injuries by perpetuating poor notions.

    That said, my house has been shielded from rotten eggs and tomato tosses. 😉

  12. Bruce Kelly says:

    I can’t tell whether the golf pro is being serious or this is tongue in cheek. If he’s serious then there are issues but if he’s not then we are over reacting IMHO.

  13. Ariana says:

    Tim Rudd made a great point: “parents look to us coaches for expertise and hundreds will look at this from a layman’s perspective and say I have to get my kid to this coach or someone like him, my kid will be a superstar.”

    Here’s what had me shaking my head and thinking, “here we go!!” The video opens with the coach addressing viewers that, “this segment is on raising a superstar.” and then closes with the coach saying “the first point I want to make in terms of raising a superstar…” They should have titled the video “Raising a Superstar” and not “How to Teach Kids To Play Golf”

    As for the coach…I would suggest that he would be better suited for working with adults.

    Are you kidding me?!…this is a 5-year old child!! And, this is exactly where a huge part of the problem begins…the second a child demonstrates a hint of potential in a sport parents and/or coaches have him/her labeled as the next great _________ (insert your favorite pro athlete’s name). Along with that label comes incredibly irresponsible training programs and schedules which time and time again lead to nothing more than numerous injuries, as well as emotional and physical burnout!

    Brian, as for your observations and comments…kudos!!

  14. Bob says:

    I would suggest before any more comments are made that the pro’s websites:
    http://www.goldengolf.net/entertainment.asp & http://www.kidsandgolf.com/ be visited. I’m surprised no one has offered that up until now given how easy it is for us to research.
    I believe it goes without saying that we all have a responsibility to do our homework if we feel the need to get involved in someone else’s craft.
    We will see the glass as half full or half empty based on our own fears, experiences and egos.
    Initially, I saw the video as but a snapshot, knowing little about how or why it was prepared or who those involved are.
    A while ago one of my greatest mentors offered that sometimes people don’t want your opinion; they just want you to agree with them. If asked an opinion where he felt that was the case he would just say “interesting”.

  15. Mike says:

    My take was that the video was making fun of the “my child (or athlete that I coach) is the next superstar” mentality that seems so prevalent today. At least I hope he was! So in that case I think that you took it too seriously. Your points are well taken, but unfortunately those that are caught up with this thinking generally won’t recognize this in themselves. I’ve seen on some forums lately where parents are complaining about everything a coach is doing because it is not leading to weekly PR’s for their 8 and under kids. – it’s so easy to get sucked in but it’s crazy.

  16. Doc Wood says:

    Brian, Surely you could find a better example of poor coaching than that. It was a pretty innocuous piece. Look at the little kid (he is off in never never land like most kids are when adults are talking to them). I doubt what the golf pro did had any affect on him at all. I agree that there is a lot of poor youth coaching but I just didn’t see it there. Otherwise, keep up the good work. Doc

  17. Julie says:

    Ok-so I actually got a little irritated watching this video- it took me everything in my power not to turn it off- and I think my stomach turned about 4 times through the duration. Brian, regardless of whether or not you “over-analyzed” or were “too harsh” in your critique (according to others), there ARE in fact coaches and parents out there that coach like this and believe this is the correct method for training- that Over-zealous, Form-Based, Manipulative training. To me, it’s crazy. The thing that actually affected me most was the fact that the child looked MISERABLE and the Pro was not only scaring HIM but scaring ME. I LOVE science…the way the body moves, how we function and most importantly the way our body innately performs the most efficiently and effective movements (then, how it is ruined by coaches and trainers who don’t understand the importance of development). I enjoyed your critique, and it was yet another realization of how important EDUCATION is when it comes to being a trainer. Thank you for continually educating I look forward to the conference on the 18th and 19th.

  18. Dale Speckman says:

    My take here is that the video sends the wrong message to the parents. We have all these parents that want their kids to be what they were not. Parents cause more harm to their own kids than most coaches in my opinion because they are the ones that send them to bad coaches because they want Jr. to go pro regardless of the process, or they work the you know what out of them in the backyard not having a clue what they are talking about. This whole raise a superstar mentality is what is ruining kids. Even if the guy was kidding you know there are several parents watching that vid salivating thinking about the possibility of Jr. winning the Masters.

    Keep up the great work Brian, I am proud to be a member of the IYCA!

  19. Ariana says:

    Ok…I just couldn’t resist! You know the old adage, “curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought her back” Well this little kitty almost went crazy trying to figure out whether or not Jay Golden, the coach, was being serious or not…so, I called him!

    I just got off the phone with Mr. Golden and am happy to advise everyone that it was actually the producer of the segment who came up with the “raising a superstar” angle.

  20. Andy Sasimowicz says:

    Not at all Mike my comments are specific to soccer only. I have always advocated a multi sports approach so that the child develops not only soccer but overall long term athletic development.The difficulty is convincing parents to take up these options in a logical and sensible way(They dont understand) and in this case it could be basket ball, multi directional movements, saq work etc basically any sport which will enhance the development of the child.The 3 players on my website have come through a system of development doing multi sports and today 2 of those play at the very top level.I would not have become a member of the IYCA if I felt this way.Infact I would be failing my young players and I am sure you would agree on this Mike, thought unfortunately in the Uk many understand the development process never mind the care and attention the very young athlete requires.

  21. Michael says:

    Hey Brian. You are totally right.
    First off, the coach means well by his actions and words. He is trying to keep the mood fun and encouraging Matthew as best he can. He is also concentrating on portraying the fun and freedom aspect to development throughout the video. I think he is correct in what he is trying to do but unfortunatley his application is terrible. Ultimately, this is were my issue would be: the fact that adults who are trying there best to help kids are so ignorant to their actions and there implications on the childs life. It is the adults responsibility to educate themselves to perform this task correctly. I would also like to point out that ”correctly” is meant in a broad sense as in make sure what you are doing is correct and appropiate to the child no matter how insignificant the application is to you. Simple terms, the adult needs to be completley aware of all there actions as the child will pick up on everything. Thank you Brian for making such appropiate information available and continuing to educate.

    Apologies if I havent made much sense in what I have wrote. Its been a long day! Im glad I wrote something though.
    Thanks, Michael.

  22. Mike Howard says:

    The video: Difficult for me to put in words but I’ll try… it is difficult to know the exact intent of the “tongue-in-cheek-ness” being displayed by the pro. What I can tell you is that the video struck a negative cord from deep inside me. I will echo other commentators that the kid just looked like a pawn – an innocent by-stander who wanted no part of what was going on. I can say that as a father of two young children, I would not put either of them through this man’s school. So whether said pro was trying to be lighthearted or serious, what took place was not in the best interest of the child. And can we all agree that this is what’s most important here?

    That said, the culpability is shared by the parents of this child and producers of this video. Also and in all honesty, I was not as emotional about this as Brian, but it did rub me the wrong way.

    This video (jovial or not) smacks of forcing prodigism, which is something that not only disagrees with the principles of the IYCA, but should be seen as common sense.

    Disagree if you will, but please – do not use the “It worked for ______” therefore it must be good. This is an Ad Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc fallacy.

    And for Jeff the martial arts intructor; it sounds as though you are bitter with the organization and trying to show the world you are. If you take the time to learn what the IYCA is about, your example of “letting kids beat the crap out of each other” could not be further from what the IYCA represents. Right in the certification material Brian and Kwame are clear – you don’t put children at risk. Free play does not extend to situations where the child may get hurt.

    And for the soccer coach – I respect the number of years you have put into coaching and development, but but I am bothered by this aspect of your philosophy: “Developing young football players in today’s society is probably the most important role a father, mother or teacher can have.” This seems “soccer-centric” to me. What if one were to participate in number of different activities? Is this any less important? Do you feel this would take away from their football skill and henceforth their ability to succeed in football? This is contrary to both scientific and common sense philosophies espoused by the IYCA.

    I’m sure Brian’s remarks would come across as inflammatory to those who have been doing things a certain way for many years. But to ignore the potentially detrimental impact of early specialization is doing our youth a disservice.

  23. Keith Mayer says:

    Very intersesting the IYCA looks a great organization.Its interesting to note how the human mind and eye perceives things in different ways.For instance I have know Andy Sas for over 10 years and hes one of the most gifted trainers in the whole of the UK when it come to developing young players.Im am sure that at times we take things the wrong way without ever getting to know the person.

  24. David Egan says:


    I thought he may have been goofing on those trainers who take them too seriously. It is something I think unfortunately happens too frequently. We emphasize stardom instead of the joy of playing the game and improving.

    David Egan

  25. Sean Willis says:

    Without going into great length, Brian and his message hit me like a ton of bricks in Febuary at the summit, and
    I would rather have a child than a superstar.

    They are not athletes, they are kids!

  26. Mike Howard says:

    @ Andy,

    Thanks for the clarification! Sorry to have put you on the defensive. Appreciate your thoughts on the matter and it seems that they are more in line with mine than I thought.


  27. SHAYNE says:


  28. Trish (Aust) says:

    Re: 20. Ariana: “the producer of the segment who came up with the “raising a superstar” angle” – how easy to blame someone else. Why didn’t the coach object? He obviously agreed with the format!! Light-hearted as he seems to be trying to make it, what I saw (and cringed at) in the video, was someone trying to con parents into making their kids become “little superstars”, and “having fun” on the way. The “fun” bit would be good if the kids wanted to be there, and weren’t subjected to being “little perfectionist adults”, not being able to actually understand such things as WHY and WHEN they needed to “turn the foot”. Keep up the good work Brian and IYCA.

  29. Rob Wilson says:

    Brian I watched the video. I even had one of my youth athletes try it and I agree with you. This is over coaching! When ENCOURAGED to follow through he automaticaly came up on the back toe! when told to finish on the toe he over did it. Everything has a progression! It is so typical of coach’s to try to fast forward kids to the pro level. This kid has plenty of time (in the future)to fine tune the details. As for the trainer. You train animals you can only coach humans!

  30. Steve H says:

    Brian, I don’t agree fully with your assessment in this case, but the video was worth showing to generate discussion.

    Judging by the comments that have come up, whether for or against, I think you have completely succeeded in getting some very worthwhile thinking going on.

    I will continue to look forward to your comments and ideas.

  31. gary Kilgore says:

    Hey Brian,
    As a member of the IYCA I totally understand the concern from where your comments are coming from. I am also sure the majority of my fellow IYCA members know what you are all about and how you have dedicated your life the the well being of our children. However, people outside of the IYCA do not always know what you are about and could contrue theses comments as unfairly critical.
    I joined in June 07 and had my first two IYCA certifications within a few months. I have read just about everything you have penned and purchased just about everything you have put out. I get it!! I am sure the vast majority of IYCA members get it! My concern is that we become seen as just another organization criticizing everything we do not agree with trying to make a buck. Trust me, I beleive there are times when you have to yell as loud as you can towards anyone that will listen- especially when it comes to the safety and well being of our youth. I also whole heartedly believe there are times we need to tread lightly for the greater good (the latter is always much harder for me).
    I am not going to say if you thought you were to critical. You seem like you are a passionate, self-reflecting person that takes what he says seriously. You are going to be your toughest critic and in the end you, like all of us, have to live by your own code. I know you will work it out. I beleieve in you and the IYCA as a whole. Stay focused for the good of the cause and I will always be one of your staunchest defenders.

  32. Al Roth says:

    Brian, The articles you write I take great interest in, wanting to take from it any information that can help me learn to better enhance my training of not only children, but anyone. Unfortunately, I feel the tape you played and critiqued was inappropriate to the quality of learning lessons you betray. The tape looked like a joke tape, not a training tape. Let it go at that. There is alot of wasted energy on this. Let it go. Let’s move on. Take Care and Keep Leading the way you do.
    Al Roth

  33. Terri says:

    I agree with Brian’s comments with regards to the golf video. Personally and professionally I have experienced it with one of my own children being taught wrong. My son is a baseball player; and his coach wanted to change his batting stance by straightening the lead leg & foot down. Well, when my son got up to bat that is all he thought about…so he overcompensated – leg was straight, stiff and foot flat. He went from being one of the top batters & homerun hitters on the team; to one of the worst. I tried to reinforce the correct way in the correct manner but as soon as he was at practice or a game the coach was yelling and telling him to plant the foot. As a professional and a parent I had to step back, wait for the season to be over and we’ll start over. I believe in ‘guided discovery’ when coaching kids. Not all kids are the same; each one will have differences. I also believe ‘if its not broke; don’t fix it’.

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