In response to the rapidly increasing demands on coaches, the IYCA has created the
Certified Athletic Development Specialist (CADS) certification – the biggest advancement in the
IYCA’s curriculum in over 10 years.

The IYCA’s Certified Athletic Develop Specialist

We developed this certification because we don’t want you to be good – we want you to be exceptional.

Formulated by coaches who know exactly what it takes to succeed, this is the most comprehensive certification ever created for trainers and coaches who want to develop ALL aspects of athletes ages 6 to 18.

The IYCA pioneered the profession with the Youth Fitness Specialist certification, which was considered the gold-standard for many years, but our research determined that there were large gaps that needed to be addressed. The CADS certification takes advantage of the YFS1 curriculum, but adds more than ANY other course on the market, including:

A complete course on speed & agility mechanics:

Teaching athletes how to move is at the core of developing athletes

The Long-Term Athletic Development Roadmap:

This section helps you understand exactly what to with athletes at each stage of development

An instructional library of strength training exercises:

Know exactly which exercises to choose and how to teach them

A genius new programming template to enhance athleticism:

This template will ensure that you are developing COMPLETE athletes, not just kids who specialize in just one sport

All of this makes the CADS certification the NEW GOLD STANDARD of certifications for coaches working with athletes of ALL AGES. This isn’t just a facelift on YFS1. This is a complete transformation that has created a revolutionary new certification.

what customers are saying

“The IYCA CADS certification is a game-changer. I now have techniques and programming knowledge for all facets of athletic development – coaching, strength training, speed development, youth training, etc. I’ve already been applying the new knowledge and it has made a huge difference with my athletes.”

– Anthony Katafias

“I thought this was just going to be a little upgrade to the YFS1, but when I saw everything that was included, I was amazed. I’ve earned a degree and taken a lot of other courses, but I feel so much more prepared to develop athletes than ever now that I’ve gone through the CADS certification.”

– Jon Braun

We understand that developing athletes isn’t easy. If it was, there would be a simple formula, and everyone would follow it. Instead, you need to be a great coach, understand many complex concepts, and be able to apply evidence-based strategies in the correct fashion. That’s why the CADS curriculum is so comprehensive – because YOU have to be EXCEPTIONAL.

The IYCA wants YOU to be one of the few coaches who understands ALL facets of athletic development so you can be THE resource for sport coaches, parents, and athletes in your area.


  • Maturation
  • Fundamental Motor Skills
  • Coaching Skills
  • Cueing Skills
  • Strength Development
  • Speed Development
  • Agility Training
  • Quickness
  • Stages of Development
  • How to adjust programs based on age, experience, and developmental level
  • Motor Learning
  • Coordination
  • Conditioning
  • Program Design
  • Warm-up Routines
  • Exercise Technique
  • …and more

The CADS curriculum addresses all of this and more, making it unlike anything else available. Some courses address a couple of these things. Most certifications are nothing more than exams.

No other certification course teaches and assesses you on EVERYTHING that goes into developing athletes like the CADS.

That’s why the CADS is not for everyone – just coaches who want to be the best.

What is the IYCA

Certified Athletic Development Specialist?

The CADS credential was developed as a way to differentiate you from other, less-qualified coaches who might know how to make kids tired, but don’t truly understand how to develop a complete athlete. While there are many other benefits to the IYCA Certified Athletic Development Specialist, the bottom line is this: this CADS curriculum will guide you through the process of becoming a specialist in a high-need, high-demand field and allow YOU to better help the kids you serve.

The CADS credential means that you understand both the science and practical applications involved in developing athletes.

The Certified Athletic Development Specialist curriculum combines:

  • The IYCA’s Revolutionary Approach To Coaching. Combining both the art and science of coaching, the IYCA’s coaching methodology addresses the needs of today’s young people and teaches you how to connect with and motivate the clients you serve.
  • The IYCA’s Revolutionary Approach to Long Term Athletic Development. The CADS curriculum provides you with a complete approach to fitness and athletic development that takes into account the real-world considerations and needs of athletes 6 to 18 years old including coordination development, strength training, conditioning, speed development, program development and more.
  • Contributions From Some Of The Industry’s Top Coaches. We’ve enlisted some of the world’s leading authorities in the profession like Jim Kielbaso, Dave Gleason, Dave Jack, Kim McCollough, Phil Hueston, Mike Robertson, Toby Brooks, and Wil Fleming as contributors to this course. They share their insights and experiences gained from coaching thousands of young athletes.
  • Real World Programming. Gain access to actual, proven sample training programs designed by the industry’s top coaches to empower you to create and implement your own effective training approach. The CADS curriculum will walk you step-by-step how to create the most effective training programs for athletes at each age and developmental level.

And we’ve put it over the top by adding…

IYCA Passion to Profits Course as a BONUS!

This bonus course will help you understand how to set yourself apart and create a stream of athletes and coaches who want your help.

  • A tool to help you develop your vision, core values, and Youth Fitness Business Goals
  • This resource contains 5 modules that include worksheets, presentations, and everything you need to get on the career path that you may be dreaming of!
  • You will be able to define your target market & turn your passion into a lucrative business
  • Add this to your CADS Credentials to jumpstart and/or grow your career as a Certified Athletic Development Specialist.

What is the Learning Format For
The CADS Certification?

When you decide to take advantage of the IYCA’s Certified Athletic Development Specialist certification
you’ll gain access to the following materials:

The Essentials of Youth Conditioning & Fitness Textbook & Instructional Videos ($400 value) –
The official textbook delivers practical concepts supported by the latest research.
This textbook covers the following content areas:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Youth Conditioning and Fitness
  • Chapter 2: The Developing Athlete
  • Chapter 3: The Art and Science of Coaching: The IYCA Model
  • Chapter 4: Practical Applications
  • Chapter 5: Sample Programming

A 2 DVD Set that provides thorough, narrated screencasts for each chapter of the textbook so that you can learn though your preferred medium. Plus, to enhance your learning experience you will also receive a disc providing you with Printable PDF files of chapter outlines and a course syllabus with suggested week-by-week assignments.

Long-Term Athletic Development Roadmap ($200 Value)

This portion of the course begins with a comprehensive textbook that teaches you the intricacies of the LTAD model. It also includes several, easy-to-understand video modules that teach you exactly how to program for each developmental level.

Ultimate Speed Mechanics ($100 Value)

This section shows you exactly how to teach speed & agility mechanics as well as how to incorporate sport-specific movements. Training movements is one of the most important aspects of developing athletes, and this section shows you exactly how to do this.

Additional Materials ($200 Value)

Strength Training Video Library – Use these videos to learn techniques, progressions, regressions, and alternatives so your programming can constantly evolve. Go back to review this section any time you feel like it’s time for a change.

Programming Section – In addition to the new section on the athletic development template, there are also dozens of done-for-you programs to get your started.

Athletic Development Template – This template will show you exactly what do include in your programs to ensure you are giving athletes everything they need to develop optimally.

Payment Plans are Available

Option 1: $399

Option 2: 3 payments of $149.67

Exam Requirement

Passing a 100-question, multiple choice, non-proctored online exam with 75% or higher. One attempt at the exam is given. Results are known immediately.

Retest Fee

$50 retest fee applies if the passing requirement is not met.

Completion Time

Approximately 3-4 weeks (complete within one year of purchase)

IYCA Certified Athletic Development
Specialist FAQ

What if I already have the YFS1 certification?

Your YFS1 certification will always distinguish you as a professional but adding the CADS credential will identify you as an expert in the development of athletes and is the new industry standard. Moving forward, the YFS1 course will no longer be available or promoted. If you already have the YFS1 course, you automatically have all of the additional CADS resources in your online IYCA account! Those materials were already added to your account, so you can start enjoying them now. To earn the new ADS credential, all you need to do is go through the new materials and pass the CADS exam. The only thing you pay for is the exam, which you can do HERE. Once you pass the CADS exam, you will have the new credential. You can still take the YFS1 exam if you’d like, but the CADS credential will be promoted to the public moving forward, so we highly encourage you to earn the new premier certification in athletic development.

How does the process work?

When you register for the CADS certification, you will immediately receive an email with login information for your personal IYCA account. Once you login to your IYCA account, you will have immediate access to the CADS materials and exam, and step-by-step instructions will be given on how to successfully complete the course. You will also be shipped your Textbook and 2 DVD Set within 10-14 business days if you choose the “physical version” materials. International orders often take longer depending on the customs process in each country.

How long will it take to complete?

Typically, 3-4 weeks upon beginning studying is average. If you have completed other IYCA programs, you can likely complete the program more quickly. When you enroll, you will also be given access to take your exam online. There are no additional fees to take your test. You have 365 days following your enrollment in the CADS program before you must test. You are given one attempt to pass the test. You will have 2 hours to take the test. It is 100 questions, primarily multiple-choice, and you need a passing score of 75% to earn the CADS credential. If you do not pass the exam you can purchase a retest for $50.

When do I receive my Certificate?

After you successfully pass your test, we can register you in our global database as a Certified Athletic Development Specialist. It can take up to two weeks for your certificate to be mailed to you.

Do I have to meet any prerequisites for the CADS certification?

Yes. You must be 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent. About 20% of the exam is based on scientific information that our industry analysis determined is vital to developing athletes and should be understood by high-quality coaches. You will need some background in exercise science to understand these concepts and pass the exam.

Does it matter where I live? Can I complete the program if I live outside of the United States?

IYCA professionals come from all corners of the World.  With the online learning platform, it’s easier than ever before to study for and earn an IYCA Credential.  You can study at your own pace and complete the exam no matter where you reside. The only consideration is that all materials are in English.  We also experience difficulty mailing the physical materials to some countries, but you will always have digital access if the postal service is unable to complete delivery.  

Payment Plans are Available

Option 1: $399

Option 2: 3 payments of $149.67

Register Now and Earn Your
IYCA Certified Athletic Development Specialist Credential