My Top 4 – Youth Fitness Training

1) Understanding Long-Term, Developmental Fitness

2) Art of Coaching

3) Nutrition as a Lifestyle

4) Speed & Agility (MOVEMENT) Training


No particular order.


Just the four things I think are the most important in terms of quality athletic development programs.


ABD the things that Coaches/Trainers must understand most.


What do you think?


Want to rank my Top 4?


Want to suggest something else?


:: Speed, Agility and MOVEMENT knowledge is critical for any and ALL Coaches & Trainers…

Become Certified as a Youth Speed & Agility Specialist Today


:: Developmental Fitness Models and Coaching are two of the most MISUNDERSTOOD issues that you need more education on…

Become a Certified Youth Fitness Specialist Today


:: Bad Nutrition = Bad Performance. Period. The best training program in the world WON’T WORK without quality nutrition…

Become a Certified Youth Nutrition Specialist Today


– Brian



17 Responses

  1. Andrew Ryan says:

    Hi Brian

    You have hit the nail right on the head,all four I rate at the highest level.
    I so much want a job like you have where I can help people find their dreams.

    Regards Andrw

  2. Richie Whall says:

    This should certainly start some interesting debate Brian, excellent thoughts as usual.

    Although I agree in gneral with your four areas, I believe that a greater understanding of ‘whole-child’ long term development is more important than just understanding th element of long term ‘fitness’ development.

    Understanding the long term development of social, personal, cognitive and creative skills is critical in assisiting the development of the whole child and sport & fitness can provide a fantastic environment in which to develop these key areas. An understanding of these synergistic abilities will ensure that not only will children develop the fitness and movement abilities to be able to enjoy long-term participation in a range of sports and physical activities, but they will also be able to develop into well-rounded individuals who can make a positive impactwithin their own communities for life.

    Obviously there is some crossover with the Art of Coaching (in needing to understand more about creating the optimal environment in which to facilitate youth development) and also Nutrition as a a lifestyle (and understanding how nutrition can significantly impact in all areas of child development) but I feel they are too important to ignore if you truly want to develop injury-free, emotionally sound and functionally gifted young athletes and participants.

  3. Janila says:

    Rating these four terms would do them injustice for I believe they are all of equal importance. Today’s post is interesting. I, myself, wonder what others think now that you’ve mentioned it. Keep up the good work, Brian.

  4. jeffrey simmons says:

    i live in birmingham AL where is the local ICYA n my area

  5. Dr. Kwame M Brown says:

    My four are a bit more “broad view”

    1) Understanding the young one and THEIR personal connection to the sport / activity

    2) Figuring out what “problem” you are solving

    3) planning for the solution, not the problem

    4) Reading the Room: Executing the plan with energy (whatever energy the child / group needs at the moment) and dedication.

  6. James Stock says:

    Your top four don’t need to be ranked, they are equally important, but to them I would add as a basic necessity,

    Strength enhancement by weight training. This is because most athletes could benefit

    from it and to begin any sport, a certain amount of strength is necessary. Development

    of the muscles most used in the sport is good, but produces imbalance. I think that all

    around development is best.

  7. Brian and Kwame those are ranked at the top. Kwame addressed a serious issue as to figuring out the problem and correcting it. My top four are:

    1. Functional Movement screening
    2. Repair deviations
    3. coach proper skill of movement
    4. Keep the athlete engaged.


  8. Sean Willis says:

    Do you feel that joint mobilility, and flexibility fall under the “movement” umbrella? It has been my experience, that by increasing these two functions there is an increase in movement skill, and speed.

    Love your stuff Brian.
    See ya soon


  9. Larry Edwards says:

    My top four:

    1. Organization & coordination for long term training
    2. Nutrition teaching and coaching
    3. Fun multidirectional movement base activity
    4. Progressive strength traininig

  10. Raj Thompson says:

    Top 4:
    1) Understanding Long-term, developmental fitness

    2) Understand the athlete

    3) Art of Coaching (Become progressive and study new training techniques)

    4) Nutrition

    I don’t think any top 4 is wrong. It’s just a matter of understanding how each one works individually and then putting them all together.

  11. Paul says:

    In regards to developmental models, my priority is to understand how children (or adults for that matter) use movement as a problem-solving tool. This comes from the theory of affordances. As an example, a toddler picks up a toy telephone and does what? Bangs it, stretches the cord, uses it to tie up other objects, etc. Our typical response is to take the phone and say, “no, no, it’s a phone, you put it up to your ear and press the buttons.” In reality, that object is anything that it affords the user, and by imposing our biases on it, we only limit what the user can do with it, rather than allow the user to explore and create something out of it.

    I think we do similar things in the way we train youngsters. We impose rules and restrictions, we set expectations for motor behavior, and we judge the outcomes on how closely our expectations are met, rather than how well the problems are solved. We presume imbalances when none are present and we presume injury when none are iminent.

    I think we should take a more open and creative approach to coaching strength and performance, and so long as practices are safe, and context driven, let our students (I approach this as a teacher and coach) figure things out for themselves.

  12. Dr. Kwame M Brown says:

    Amen, Paul! Nothing to add

  13. Jason Harley says:

    I would have to rank these four programs as followed:
    1. Understanding Long-Term, Developmental Fitness- This has to be first because you have to know where you are going and what stages to progress to in order to get the most out of any training program. You may get athletes from all different ages and levels of their fitness development and you cant treat them all the same. It is good to know where they will be in the future in order to know how to train them now.
    2. Movement Training- We have all heard the term “Speed Kills” well the next question should be how do we get there? knowledge on how to achieve optimal speed and quickness is a staple to any athletes training program.
    3. Nutrition For Life- nutrition fuels the body, what you put in is what you should expect to get out of it.
    4. Art of Coaching- if you dont have the love and passion for coaching then this might be first on your list.

  14. Eru says:

    I seem to be on the same track as Raj T,my 4 as ranked: 1) Understanding fully the principles of coaching. 2) To understand long term development in youth. 3) To be able to communicate and understand their psyche. 4) Nutrition for Life. I believe that we must look at our younger athletes with an express interest for the future and if we do it wrong their future could be short.

  15. Brian-

    In working with thousands of kids and young teens at our Club, and in my experience, the “Art of Coaching” really needs to be clarified and expanded: Interpersonal Communication and the Ability to Communicate Effectively, and to Illicit feedback from a child or teen is critical to their individual development (how are you feeling, what does it feel like when we do xxx activity, what do you enjoy most, how was your day at school, etc…) as well as the helping to ensure adherence and a sustained effort, ultimately resulting in long-term gains, ie, the solidification of a healthy lifestyle, or at least core healthy behaviors, be it intake our output related.

    We will not necessarily be around in 20-30 years to coach the kids and teens, and we also need to think of the importance to develop the leaders of the future, and some of them will be the youth we are coaching today. We should be cognizant that kids are not developing at a faster rate, but are prone to learn and take in more information at a quicker pace as well – meaning we can certainly look to identify young champions today to positively impact their own circle of friends at school, teammates, siblings, or neighborhood kids.

    Adherence is critical, as without adherence and buy-in, it would preclude the necessity of long-term development. Adherence is about relationship building and providing the proper motivation, incentives, education, and groups of activities that kids and teens believe is empowering to each of them. Dave

  16. to clarify, my typo – kids are not ONLY developing at a faster rate – I apologize for omitting the word ONLY :), obviously.

  17. I think you are definitely right about it!


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