Developing Young Athletes: Intelligent vs. Dumb




>Developing Young Athletes With the IYCA



Defined by the dictionary as –


“The capacity for learning, understanding and aptitude for grasping relationships”


That sets the stage very nicely for the meaning of this IYCA-based term.


What about ‘Athletic’?


It’s defined as such –


“Involving the use of physical skills or capabilities”


String those two definitions together and you’ve got the basis for the main motivation needed when training and developing young athletes.


In short –


“Increasing the capacity for learning and understanding various physical skills and how they relate”


That is the crux and critical requirement with respect to programming for young athletes.


And how backwards do we have that these days?


Increase the capacity for learning:


It’s not about over-coaching pre-adolescent children.


Teaching them the ‘mechanics’ of how to throw a baseball or kick a soccer ball.


It’s about enhancing their knowledge and understanding of how to perform these actions via Guided Discovery.


Allowing them to play.


Get a feel for the motion themselves and through trail and error, develop bodily aptitude.


Understanding various physical skills and how they relate:


Through this ‘trail and error’ period of development, it can’t be about specificity, either.


It’s about indirect, global stimulus.


Running fast, for example, isn’t just based on the action of running.


It’s based on:


– Rhythm


– Movement Adequacy


– Efficient production and absorption of force


– Body position for optimal acceleration and deceleration



These physical skills aren’t only developed via performing endless sets of sprints or start and stop drills.


In fact, they are BEST developed singularly. Learned and understood in isolation and then eventually brought together in a relative format.


If you haven’t already, watch this basic ‘Skip Loop’ exercise from the ‘Coordination Development’ DVD found in Complete Athlete Development –






Movement Adequacy


Force Production and Absorption


Through drills like these, my young athletes are learning how to be ‘intelligent’.


It is through indirect methods of enhancing bodily knowledge that kids form the basis of becoming superior athletes in time.


It’s a process that can’t be rushed or overlooked.


The problem is, we rush and/or ignore this phase of athletic development all the time.


And that’s the main reason so few of our young athletes ever amount to much in terms of optimal sporting success.


They were rushed through a process.


Over-coached and ’specified’ too early.


They simply aren’t Athletically Intelligent.


And when you don’t have basic intelligence, you can’t possibly expand your knowledge passed a certain point.


You lack the foundational aptitude on which to learn more.


Ask yourself this question –


Are the indirect aspects of learning addition and subtraction important to the eventual mastery of specific mathematical skills such as calculus or algebra?


You better believe they are.


Now apply that reasoning to developing young athletes.


Isn’t it time you saw firsthand what training for sporting success should REALLY look like?


Have a look at Complete Athlete Development and see what you’re missing –


Complete Athlete Development System for Training Young Athletes






Click Here to Learn More about this Complete System for Training Young Athletes










6 Responses

  1. luis bracamonte says:

    Athletic intelligence is a fantastic concept. If exercise and play were pillars of education not simply viewed as recretion we just might see a a increase in health and productivity. Great blog Brian keep hitting this drum until everyone gets the beat.

  2. Richie Whall says:

    Lovin it as usual Brian. A fantastic explanation of an extremely important concept in an easy to understand way. Keep up the good work BG

  3. Antonio says:

    Enough already, are you trying to teach some kid to pick up a bat and swing at a ball, or are you training people to join cirque de soleil? 99.9 percent of us are going to dabble in sport, quit whilst we are still fairly young, and then get on with life. If we play the occasional game of table tennis or squash, or a round of golf, it will be purely on a social ad hoc basis. The worst thing we all do, especially Brian Grasso, is give people an expectation that they could be the next big thing. Why? Because there’s money in it. It is not so easy to identify the people who will make it as a professional sports person, but it is easy to select the individuals who positively have got no hope. But that’s where the money tree is, the untalented masses. Brian Grasso is flogging his product, to hell with any vestige of integrity.

  4. Pat says:

    Interesting perspective Antonio. Honestly, I’m pretty confident that you missed the point. Part of the message was that sports specificity and over coaching is a problem. The idea is to help each child enjoy their experiences to the maximum.

    Regardless of the competitive level to which each person ascends – the objective should be for them to have as good an experience as possible. While you are correct – most kids will never reach the professional or even the collegiate level of competitive sports, should this hamper them from having positive experiences at the levels in which they do compete while at the same time helping to set them up for a more physically active lifestyle?

    Maybe the problem is your whole ‘get on with life’ perspective. Perhaps embracing more physical activity might be a good thing…just a thought.

  5. Antonio says:

    Hi Pat, and thanks. Sport is supposed to be a joyous affair. It makes us happy for a few short fleeting moments, or perhaps even longer. All sport, however, is trivia, and unworthy of all the attention it gets. All the scientific input, the drugs to help beat the other guy, and the trainers/coaches trying to promote their dodgy schemes, ostensibly to help the PATS of the world become a world champion, (There are 8000)but really only feathering their own nests.

    One day you will mature and see the light.

  6. Erik says:

    Ok Antonio…
    You say that “one day I will mature and see the light” I’m 44 now and getting ready to compete in my 4th Ironman triathlon. I know that I have no hope in getting in the top ten but I keep doing it and following those who want to “feather their nest” with new gadgets, nutrition, coaching, etc. I could not do this if I was a sedentary, overweight person, who hated sport while growing up. I was lucky enough to have coaches who properly espoused some of the same concepts of IYCA many years ago. I don’t think I would like any sport if I couldn’t even perform it to some level of proficiency. Would you bowl if every ball was a gutter ball? Would you want to have an effective coach/help if that would help you improve and beat your OWN score? As you say, “sport should be a joyous affair”, but how can that happen if you are injured, hate the mechanics, or don’t know how to effectively move your body as necessary?

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