Motor Skill Development & Young Athletes…
The cornerstone of progressive training programs.
Enjoy this information on young athletes and please be sure to leave a comment below:
Training for speed and agility is essential for those serious about excelling in competitive sports. 2x All-American football player Dan Fichter knows what it takes.
BG: What’s your background in youth sports and athletics? Have you trained a lot of young athletes?
DF: My Athletic development background is very simple. It was fueled by my love for sports. All sports! When I was done playing football in the Arena Football League, I decided to make it a goal to learn from the best around. I have tried so many different programs in the fitness industry, I have seen it all. I went to the best to search for the answers! Dr. Mel Siff has helped my understanding of how the human body operates and how to think outside the box. From there, my experiences have included many conversations with Dr. Peter Weyand who is the leading authority on human movement and how it related to running energetics. Coach Ken Jalkowski who knows the process of marrying the science and coaching helped me translate some of Peter’s very complex theories on what limits how fast humans can run. John Davies has also been an instrumental part of my growth as a coach and an expert in the field of strength and conditioning. In this business you have to be learning all the time. Listen to new ideas, and then as the Late Dr. Mel Siff taught me "prove all things"
I have coached a lot of different levels of kids in many different sports. Wrestling, football, Track, Martial arts, plus I have been a physical focused on human growth and development, motor skill development, as well as some interesting research in the lab focusing on the biomechanics of short sprints. So, I guess you can say I have a pretty decent background dealing with the kids and how they move. At this point in my career as a performance coach, the majority of athletes that I consult with on a personal basis are older. (Pro athletes, College level, and elite high school athletes) However, I feel it is paramount for kids to have the proper training and instruction as they pursue their sports interests.
I run many Speed and Agility camps for kids ages 11- 18. As a matter of fact, I will be joining forces with a business called AthleticFX whose main goal is to work with younger athletes on developing the proper movement tool box so they can develop and transition to higher level skill training as they get older. As I have stated on many occasions, when I train older athletes, I can tell they lack certain fundamental movement and coordination skills. They should have received this type of training a long time ago. I do tons of remedial work that I don’t think I would have to do if kids progressed the right way in training when they were younger.
BG: There are a lot of coaches, parents and even trainers who treat young athletes as if they were "little adults". What I mean by that is they will take the training routine of a superstar athlete and use it as a guide when working with youngsters. Why, if at all, should we warn against that kind of training?
DF: This is a huge mistake, and can only hurt a child, and maybe damage their chances to grow and experience tons of things that kids should normally experience. Children don’t play today. We are dealing with a huge population of unfit kids. The result of this is a population of obese kids with back problems that will continue to spiral out of control. We have to get kids moving! (That is the PE teacher in me speaking) Get your kids into a sound youth program with people who know what they are talking about. Don’t follow what you read in a magazine. One size doesn’t fit all!
BG: The age old debate is "How old should an athlete be before they begin lifting weights." What’s your view on that controversial topic?
DF: Well, in my opinion it is not very controversial when you explain what is happening from a biomechanical stand point. When "experts" talk about maximal weight training it is extremely misleading to think that kids will not benefit from a solid strength program, or for that matter will subject them selves to injury if they lift too heavy. People have to understand that the complexity of movements has to do more with each individual kid rather than a perceived age number per say.
Of course a strong base of knowledge in pediatric exercise
science, motor skill development and program design is critical for
you to truly create effective training and conditioning
agendas for this specific demographic.
But here’s something that may surprise you…
I find that coaches and trainers who have big personalities and
charismatic styles are often far better with kids than professionals
who really ‘know their science’.
That is not to knock education.
The IYCA has a very involved and complex 4-tiered educational
process that has been created to be a virtual vault of scientific
information for coaches and trainers to learn.
But a great deal of our material also focuses on teaching you
how to effectively communicate with your young clients and
understand their specific learning styles.
Here’s a simple metaphor that will help you truly grasp the
importance of this intangible factor –
It’s not always what you want to say that matters…
… It’s what they want to hear.
That doesn’t mean you need to placate to your athletes or not
say what it is you need to or want to say.
But you have to relay your message in a way that it will be
This is the number one concern I see in youth sports, youth
fitness and even school.
We expect all children and teens to learn the same way and be
open to our messages irrespective of how they are offered.
13 years of working with this demographic has taught me that this
is just not the case.
Creating effective programs is the science…
But implementing them effectively is the art.
And the IYCA wants you to understand that your role as a coach
or trainer working with this demographic is not to be a
scientist, but an artist.
Understand the science.
Use it to create successful and developmentally-sound training young athletes
But BE an artists.
Learn how to implement these successful and developmentally-
sound training programs so that they are optimally received by
Our coaching template found in the ‘Level 1 – Youth Fitness
Specialist’ certification offers a very detailed look at how to
understand your individual athletes motivation and learning
And while there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all
approach’ to coaching, there is one specific ingredient that
you can bank on as a surefire way to make sure all your athletes
are interested in what you have to say…
Do you bring energy to each and every training session?
Are you thrilled to see your young clients – and can they tell?
Do you coach with an enthusiastic nature that is contagious?
These are the questions you must ask yourself when you are training young athletes.
Coaching, learning and communication variances per athlete are
unique and the ‘Level 1’ material certainly gives you a massive
amount of information in terms of understanding it all.
But ‘energy’ is the single factor you can bring to the table
each and every time.
It’s what makes the difference between a good coach and a great
Challenge yourself to bring the energy each time you’re in front
of your athletes.
Better yet – bring it one day and not the next.
See for yourself how much differently your athletes respond to
you and how much more involved they become in your training
More than the ‘x’ and ‘o’ factors, my friend…
The response I received from yesterday’s Youth Fitness Specialist
certification release was absolutely overwhelming.
And it’s really not just a matter of ‘how many’ people got on
board with the IYCA, it’s ‘how excited’ they were to become part
of my international mission.
Fitness and Sport Training professionals from North America,
Europe, Australia, Africa and the Far East all clamored to become
part of my ‘First 500 youth fitness specialists‘.
I even did a radio show interview yesterday afternoon in which
the host said to me off-air "I can really tell that the IYCA is
‘what’s happening’ right now in the fitness industry".
How right he was!!
Having said all that, I received a number of great questions
yesterday from professionals worldwide.
Folks seem to want a bit more information about the IYCA, our
mission and the whole concept of training adults versus kids.
I decided to answer the four most common questions I received in
an email to you so that you could have the answers for yourself.
Here they are…
Q – If I have no background in training kids, will the IYCA
be a good place to start?
A – 100% YES! We have taken a lot of time and placed a lot of
care in creating our educational system so that it works for both
brand new Trainers as well as seasoned veterans.
The ‘Level 1 – Youth Fitness Specialist’ certification is the
first step in a 4-step process of advanced and progressive
The Level 1 course material is taught by myself and Dr. Kwame
Brown and covers the following topics:
:: Motor Skill Development (birth through adolescents)
:: Program Design for clients and athletes 6 – 18 years
:: Group Training – programming, coaching and implementation
:: Coaching Science – how to communicate and teach any child
:: Practical Application – what exercises are best per age group
Although advanced in theory and practice, the material is taught
in an extraordinarily fun, upbeat and stimulating manner so as to
appeal to all degrees of Fitness Professionals.
Here’s what Fitness Pro Donovan Owens has to say about our
course material –
"The content contained in the IYCA course materials provides the
most technical, practical and applicable education that I have
EVER experienced with any other program"
I think that says it all!
Check out my ‘Level 1 – Youth Fitness Specialist’ certification
now by clicking on the link below –
Q – I am already certified through another organization, why
would I want to become certified through the IYCA?
A – Great question!
Here’s the reality…
… No other certification in existence today prepares you to
work with young athletes and youth fitness participants the way
We do not offer education or certifications in ‘elite athlete
training’, ‘older adult fitness’ or ‘nutrition and weight
YOUTH is all we do… it’s what we know and where our passion is.
Would you go to a Chiropractor if you needed heart surgery?
Would you go to the Dentist for an annual physical?
If you want the best, want to be the best and want be prepared
for the largest market surge this industry has ever seen, you
simply MUST be educated and credentialed by the organization that
has already been recognized as the ‘Gold Standard’ for youths.
Check out what former Men’s Health Fitness Editor Scott Quill
has to say about the IYCA and our ‘Gold Standard’ reputation –
"The IYCA’s advice is smart and practical and their programs
are developed with a real passion for helping coaches and kids
succeed. The IYCA is changing the way we train our youth"
Q – Why would I want to train kids instead of adults?
A – Easy… Because that’s where the market is going.
Recognizing market trends is an essential part of building and
growing a strong and prosperous career.
If you jump on board a moving train too late, bad things happen!
The youth demographic has surged into one of the largest and
most opportunity-rich niches in the entire Fitness and Sport
It has been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the
fastest growing markets in the world and received attention from
mainstream media as well.
That’s why I’ve appeared in notable publications like Newsweek
and the New York Times and why the IYCA is being endorsed by
large media outlets including ESPN.
Have a look at what ESPN writer Tom Farrey has to say on the
"Brian Grasso is a voice of reason and a beacon of hope for
anyone who wants kids to develop fitness patterns for life, and
for athletes to achieve their full potential"
The youth market is by far and away the industry’s ‘next big
thing’ and by not learning how to work with kids properly, you
are cutting yourself out of a market that grosses into the
BILLIONS of revenue each year.
Check out my ‘Level 1 – Youth Fitness Specialist’ certification
now by clicking on the link below –
Q – I would love to work with kids, but keep hearing about how
regimented training is bad for children. Is this true?
A – This is one of the silliest ‘myths’ on the planet today.
Is the regimented aspect of school bad for kids?
You could argue that kids should be left on their own and
experience education through an informal way that best suits
And you’d be wrong if you argued that!
Working with kids in a fitness setting is positively essential.
The days when kids used to just go out and play on their own
are all but gone.
And the widespread incidence of youth obesity is proof of that.
Fitness for kids is not just ‘fitness’…
… It’s DEVELOPMENTAL FITNESS.
It involves teaching aspects of movement, force production and
absorption, social interaction and cooperation.
It is a science unto itself and must be infused into the lives
of young children if they have any hope of succeeding in sports
or growing up into healthy and functionally fit adults.
The IYCA motto on this issue is simple –
M = Movement must dominate
O = Open yourself up to communication variances
L = Learning styles change per child
D = Develop… Don’t train
These four key steps are at the core of what we teach you in our
‘Level 1 – Youth Fitness Specialist’ certification.
Here’s what Kelli Calebrese, international fitness authority and
Editor-in-Chief of Personal Fitness Professional magazine, says –
"I know so many Trainers who want to work with kids but don’t
really know how. Brian and the IYCA have a formula that works
and takes away all the guesswork for those professionals who
aspire to change the health and improve the performance of
Those are the most common questions I received yesterday.
I hope I’ve clarified some things for you.
If you want to check out what the IYCA offers and jump on board
with our international mission, just click on the link below –
‘Till next time,