Archive for “Physical Education” Tag

Awaken the Sleeping Giant

By Alex Slezak – M.Ed, YFS, YSAS, HSSCS

A while ago I wrote an article entitled There is a Sleeping Giant Among Us. The article basically stated that Physical Education programs in our schools are just waiting to forever change the youth fitness landscape. I want to tell you all right now exactly how to awaken this sleeping giant and change the disastrous course of health so many of our youth are on.

I am not going to tell you this to toot my own horn, but if you visited my Physical Education program, and many have done so, what goes on is pretty impressive. So it would make perfect sense that if what I do is so good, everyone should be doing the same thing, right? WRONG! What I created is my own; it is unique to my personality, education, knowledge, experience, and students. It also is constantly evolving because I am committed to getting better.

Physical Education

A wonderful friend and mentor of mine, Chuck Kriese, taught me a long time ago that there are basically two ways to manage people, either from the top-down or the bottom-up. Top-down management would be someone purchasing a program and forcing you to implement it. I know what I feel like when I am forced to do something and I don’t like it. Top-down management also results in people who are unengaged and lacking passion in their work because there is no empowerment. Then you have the opposite, bottom-up management. The bottom-up style would be giving a person a task, providing them with all the resources available to help complete it, and giving them the flexibility to make it their own. Bottom-up management is all about empowering those around you. I don’t know about you but I love freedom because I get to take ownership, my reputation is on the line, and I get to express myself through my work. Bottom-up is exactly how I built my physical education program and that is the reason why it is so successful. The true key to power is empowering others. In fact, when I think about it my teaching style is all about empowering children to take charge of their health.

So if you want to know how to awaken the sleeping giant in your own physical education or community the secret is you have to build it from the bottom-up and make it your own. Take the time to learn anything and everything, especially from wise people inside the IYCA. Take the time to think about your coaching or teaching philosophies. Take the time to get to know the youth you will be servicing. Finally, be patient and take the time to build it from the bottom-up. Nothing truly worthwhile comes quick and easy. Real value comes with time, suffering, and sacrifice. There is no shortcut to things of value.

It certainly will not be easy but waking the sleeping giant is possible and it will not be done by just one person overnight. It will be done by many people from a bottom-up grassroots movement. If you are reading this article and part of the IYCA you are learning, getting better, and becoming empowered with the knowledge and motivation to awaken the sleeping giant near you.

Alex is a Physical Education teacher and operates a tennis & fitness training business in Pittsburgh, PA. You can learn more by visiting his website at www.AlexSlezak.com.

Sport Specialization for Young Athletes: Part 2

[wpfblike] Toby Brooks (more…)

Back To School….Food For Thought


Physical Education Injuries: 150% Increase

Physical Education Injuries alarm bells

IYCA Member, Mike Howard, sent me a link to this incredible article.


I was floored.




And completely annoyed.


150% increase Physical Education injuries.


Read the article and then be sure to leave me your comments about
why exactly you think this has become such a problem.


I feel very strongly that I know the answer.


And tomorrow I’m going to tell you what it is.


But for now, I want to hear your thoughts.


Here’s the article:



New national study finds increase in P.E. class-related injuries


Annual number of cases increased 150 percent from 1997-2007


Physical education (PE) in schools is one of the main tools used to increase physical activity and to prevent childhood obesity, and PE-related injuries are on the rise. Although increasing physical activity may reduce obesity, it may also increase the risk of injury. While recognizing that PE classes and physical activity are important components in combating obesity, parents and school administrators should remain vigilant for injuries. A recent study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, found that the number of PE-related injuries to elementary, middle and high school students in the United States increased 150 percent between 1997 and 2007.


According to the study, published in the online issue of Pediatrics, the most common PE-related injuries were lower-extremity sprains and strains (23 percent), followed by upper extremity sprains and strains (14 percent) and fractures (14 percent). Middle school-aged children (11-14 years of age) accounted for the majority of PE-related injuries (52 percent). Elementary school-aged children (5-10 years of age) had almost double the odds of a head injury, compared with other injuries.


Nearly 70 percent of PE-related injuries occurred while children were participating in six activities (running, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer and gymnastics). Injuries were caused by contact with another person, playing surface, equipment, stationary structures, pulled muscles, overuse and activity-related illnesses such as heat stroke.


"The 150 percent increase in PE-related injuries presenting to emergency departments was consistent across gender and age groups. It is unlikely that this increase was attributable to an increase in PE participation," explained study author Lara McKenzie, PhD, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. "Identifying patterns of PE-related injuries is the first step toward preventing them. Injury prevention education should be made a priority for all PE activities, especially for those activities with the highest injury rates."


This is the first published study to examine PE-related injuries on a national level. Data for this study were collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The NEISS dataset provides information on consumer product-related and sports and recreation-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments across the country.


Fitness Training For Youth – Even the Best Don’t Get it Sometimes…

Fitness Training For Youth – what age do you start training someone?


How old should your fitness training for youth clients be?


How about young athletes?


I have to admit to being utterly stunned by the opinions

some very esteemed members of our industry shared on this

topic on a popular website recently.


“No one under the age of 12”


“It’s hard to teach kids under the age of 14 proper technique”


I am more convinced than ever that the IYCA is 100% necessary

in this industry.


In the world for that matter.


What is magical about the age of 12?


Why is that considered an age that adjunct fitness training for youth is fine,

but 11 or 10 is an issue.


Here’s the real crux of the problem –


Many people in this industry simply don’t understand.


And although we live in a free country and I wholly support

the right of everyone to express there opinion, it really

makes me wonder why highly esteemed and influential

members of any community don’t first understand the issue

before stating a strong stance on the matter.


Notice how I never discuss the virtues of training highly

elite athletes or senior citizens?


It’s because I understand and respect my limitations as

a professional and find it silly to wield any sort of

influence over a topic I know nothing about.


Ideally, I wouldn’t want to have children pay for my

services either.


Kids should be outdoors, in the sun, playing and growing

physically for the exercise stimulus they encounter.


Just like I was as a kid.


The problem is they’re not doing that.


Kids should be enjoying at least 45 minutes of well-designed

and developmentally-sound physical education everyday in



But that’s not happening either. 

That is why we need fitness training for youth.

If you know anything at all about human growth and

development, you know that the plasticity of the nervous

system is such that exposure to physical activity is a

must at an early age.


And while I would love to see kids just step outdoors

again and enjoy ‘free play’ experiences or partake in

vigors daily exercise in gym class, I also long for the

days when the gas to fill my car cost less than an

entire paycheck.


Obese kids aren’t active and must outlets to become



Young athletes are at the mercy of under-educated and

over-zealous Coaches so must have a voice of reason in

their adjunct training programs that involve more than

just pushing through biomotor increases.


I’m not going to say that our industry has done a fantastic

job of understanding and applying proper elements of  fitness training for youth…


… But that’s all the more reason to LEARN them through

a credible organization rather than merely cutting off a

segment of the population who desperately needs help.


Let me know your thoughts…


‘Till next time,


fitness training for youth