IYCA: Consider This




IYCA Code…

by Dr. Kwame M. Brown


The below is said with love, and I mean that. 


"Research Shows"… "It is a well known fact that"… "There is evidence to support"…


These are all statements I have heard time and time again to support statements that people believe.  I feel it is time for me to say something as a classically trained and field experience scientist / practitioner. 


"Research Shows":  Does it?  Which research?  Does research show the opposite of what you are saying, or show it less than the research than you are quoting?  If so, and you have chosen not to include that information, you are being disingenuous.  Period. 


"It is a well known fact that…":  Is it?  Very few things are well known facts, except that kids grow and learn. 


"There is evidence to support":  Much like #1, which evidence? 


These are all sneaky statements that serve to make us sound all "experty".


I am speaking out here because it continues to be apparent to myself and others on our board that statements are often made too quickly when speaking on a subject or answering a question.  And I will be frank – it is usually a short-term business decision that leads one to do that.  The long term business decision is to gain expertise and always question yourself.  This is hard, and won’t make you money as quickly as saying "yeah I know this". 


My point:  Where are you?  What are your skills?  What is your level of knowledge?  


I say everything above not to say:  "If you’re not an expert, shut up!"  In fact, the opinion of a beginner is every bit as important as that of the sage, but not when it masquerades as the opinion of the sage.  What I really want to say is:  Don’t be afraid to say:  "Hey, let me get back to you on that."  The question asked is an opportunity for you to find out more, increase your knowledge.  Let parents and administrations that you work with know that it’s not just about you, that you have a whole organization behind you with unlimited resources.  That’s what they are paying for.  I have told parents that I work with:  "I am not so much.  But my organization, this movement is powerful.  I am a part of it.  I am in representation of it.  My resources are limitless." 


The IYCA is only as strong as your integrity

  Only as strong as your willingness to quietly go about the work of making sure that what you say and do is solid.  It is this approach that makes each of us unique individuals synergistically more powerful than we could ever be on our own. 



17 Responses

  1. Tony Maslan says:

    Great point! I have always found that my clients respected the fact that I would tell them “I’m not sure about that. Let me check with someone who would know and get back to you with an answer.”

    Thanks for all the help and information you provide!


  2. Liz Donnelly says:

    Great stuff, Kwame! Clients don’t require immediate answers as much as they do honesty. They always appreciate my willingness to admit when I don’t know and when I can return to them later with answers or some guidance.


  3. Will Paulding says:

    That is really a strong point, I never took the time to think that way before myself. I can admit that I was a coach who wanted to be seen as knowledgeable so I would use phrases such as “the evidence says” instead of ” I’ll check on this for you”. Thanks for helping me see that is not the proper way.

  4. Erak says:

    Unlimited Resources? Is this a bit like Research shows? or A well know fact?

  5. Dr. Kwame M Brown says:


    No, this isn’t, because our resources ARE unlimited with regard to research. I live a metro ride away from the National Library of Medicine. Furthermore, we have on our board of advisors and among our friends experts from literally every facet of the industry.

    If an answer exists, I am confident that the IYCA can find, understand, and communicate it. Part of this is because we have resources, but the other piece is that we are willing to do the work.

  6. Tim Ward says:

    Great stuff. My favorite part from above is “I say everything above not to say: “If you’re not an expert, shut up!” In fact, the opinion of a beginner is every bit as important as that of the sage, but not when it masquerades as the opinion of the sage. What I really want to say is: Don’t be afraid to say: “Hey, let me get back to you on that.” It is important to have respect for other individuals regardless of their level of expertise, but it needs to go both ways. As Dr. Stuart McGill wrote, “Whoever you are speaking with at that moment- you are their equal.” That being said, it is more than just okay to admit when you don’t know something. It isn’t right when you dance around answers and hide behind a “scientific claim.” See you at the IYCA summit in February!

  7. Damir Popadic says:

    You are right in theory, but it does not work this way in praxis.Why?First of all many coaches are mainly businessmen and as such they look for short -term gains which is just opposite of what you stand for.Second a lot of coaches have very poor code of ethics.

    So, you have good idea but it is quite fictional in real world.If you were right then it would be no problem to recognize good coaches – they would help parents in their choice and would not lead them ashtray.

    Now, and forever one of the biggest roles of parents whose children play sports will be to choose quality coach.It will solely depend on their parents¨s wisdom.

  8. Dr. Kwame M Brown says:


    What you may not realize is that I do this for a living. Every Day. I run a fitness department that holds 70 classes a week and employs a staff of about 50 instructors assistants and trainers. I have over a decade of experience in this field and have worked in every facet of this field (private gyms, parks and rec, hospital setting, freelance, professional athletics).

    So, I am here to tell you my friend: The honesty and integrity I speak of is how Brian built business, how I built business. Using this exact mindset and approach, at my last facility we increased PT revenue by 250% over 3 years.

    For those who want to make a quick buck without doing the work first: I can’t help you. I am not interested in those who have poor ethics. We are interested in educating and encouraging those who want to make long term money through good ethics and well founded principled programs.

  9. Brian Grasso says:

    Damir – Great poiint, but Kwame and I DO live in the real world. Our collective opinion is based on our real world experiences. My favorite point Kwame made in this blog “Part of this is because we have resources, but the other piece is that we are willing to do the work”… Well said, my brother! BG

  10. I completely agree. Research shows….what research, who sponsored it, how old is it? When I am educating myself on a topic, I want to know where the research is coming from.
    As a Nurse Practitioner and fitness coach, I get so frustrated by trainers who think they can help overweight kids lose weight just because they help overweight adults. They have no idea what the AAP guidelines are or what….the research shows!

  11. Ken Finley says:

    Research is always conducted by people. People have bias. Bias is the enemy of decision making. Work hard, read the research, talk and learn from others that you both agree with and disagree with. Great stuff Kwame! Maybe I’ll let you sit next to me again this year at the summit. 🙂

  12. Rob Wilson says:

    I truly love this! In fact I recently changed the name that I do business under for this very reason. It has never been just me as Rob Wilson Athletics I was always saying we are doing this or we found this to be true and friends or other trainers would respond with whose we it’s just you. It has never been just me! I’ve been very fortunate to have GREAT mentors and support in trying to do things correctly not to mention never being afraid to contact the client’s Dr.- surgeon-therapist. If for no other reason than a sounding board, make the call, do the research on the research. I try to always remember that when dealing with the human body there are always variables. If you choose to ignore that it’s just another cookie cutter program with little to no integrity. Keep the truths coming.

  13. Tim Graf says:

    Dr. Brown, very well put! Having attented Indiana University in the 70’s on a track scholorship to become a teacher, they tought us the following; “If it is not measureable by length, mass or time, then it is an opinion”. Opinions can not be proven right or wrong. As you stated, what research? I learned as a teacher, speed and performance coach that when my methods were questioned I would ask, show me the research and data on this topic.
    As a coach I have studied under Dr. Peter Weyand, Ken Jakalski from Lisle and last year went to Co. Springs to work with Coach Boyd Epley of U of Neb. fame in regards to strength training. Dr. Brown, you and the IYCA do things right! Keep up the great work.

    Tim Graf, Graf Speed Enhancement

  14. Jodi says:

    I agree 100%. There are many examples in sport where the application of scientific integrity is lacking… even the highest levels where one might expect that the huge demand for performance would result in an insistence on proven facts. My own experience is that those who conduct themselves this way have a longer road to trust and acceptance but ultimately they are the ones with the most respect and trust in their circle of influence.
    As a small challenge to the IYCA, could “walking the talk” include posting a full 2010 Summit schedule to the web so that we can all see how much science and opinion will be presented before deciding to register? I can read several screens full of marketing, testimonials and sales pitch but I want more facts. I believe that the IYCA is well positioned to become the international organization seen as the gold standard in youth conditioning and even sport development, but to do this it needs to meet the challenge of providing more of this kind of transparency. There’s absolutely no reason to lack confidence in what will be offered at the Summit. I’d just like to know what I’m getting when I pay for it.

  15. Dr. Kwame M Brown says:


    We accept your challenge. In the coming weeks, you will be hearing more detail about the talks and opportunities available at the 2010 IYCA International Summit (I like saying the whole name ‘cuz it sounds cool).

    More importantly, thank you for that challenge, and for calling it one. The last thing we want to become is a gang of disciples. I hope that our members continue to challenge us to put up or shut up. I know we can and will deliver.

  16. Chris,

    Great advice for children and adults. In an age that you cannot turn on a news program or read a newspaper that are making such statements, it is more important than even to find out the truth.

    Something that has bothered me lately are the headlines showing that many drugs/medications people have been convinced are safe, actually are harmful and have been shown to do nothing. The reason I bring this up, is each time these drugs(I’m talking about cholesterol lowering drugs, zetia and vytorin in particular) have been prescribed, it removes much of the accountability we have to eat right and exercise.

    This is important since there has been a recent push to promote these cholesterol lowering drugs on children. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/07/07/health/main4235922.shtml

    This is what the experts are recommending? The supposed real experts, not just the made up ones .
    Crazy stuff.

  17. seattle chiropractor says:

    Listen to what people say, but trust your gut and your numbers and always experiment to find things that work for you.

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