Why We Created the Youth Athlete Development Class - Indianapolis Fitness And Sports Training
Athletic Development

Why We Created the Youth Athlete Development Class

written by Mike Robertson

by Mike Robertson


293811011_88e060cd06When we launched our Youth Athletic Development (YAD) class at IFAST in January, we got a tremendously positive response right off the bat.

But most importantly, I got some really good questions about the class that I wanted to answer once and for all. Questions like:

  • “Do kids age 8-13 need a fitness class?” (The simple answer is yes…)
  • “Are you really going to make them lift weights?” (Sometimes – and often their “bodyweight” is enough “weight”…)
  • “What are they going to do in class?” (I’ll answer that below…)

Quite simply, we created this class because it fills a specific need. Unless your kids go to a school that:

A) Makes physical literacy a focus and goal, and

B) You have a rockstar gym/physical education teacher

…then your child absolutely needs a class like this!

Kids today are unlike any group before. They’ve got more instant entertainment at their fingertips than ever before.

Whether it’s an iPhone, an iPad, their TV, their computer, or any host of electronic gadgets and gizmos, it’s really easy to be entertained while being completely sedentary!

And we all know the health risks associated with this, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a host of other bad things.

But the really bad thing here is that kids aren’t learning how to move properly at a young age – and this, in my opinion, is the scariest possible outcome. If they don’t learn these skills at a young age, their less likely to learn them later on, and furthermore, less like to exercise and stay healthy later in life.

At a young age, kids need to learn the ABC’s of movement:

  • A – Agility,
  • B – Balance, and
  • C – Coordination.

Whether it’s playing games like tag, balancing on a 2″x4″, or learning to skip, these are critical skills that should be learned at a young age.

And you know what’s scary? We often have to take high-level young athletes, kids that are superstars on their travel soccer/baseball/basketball team, and show them how to skip or crawl when they come to our gym!

So while little Johnny may look amazing when he’s playing the sport he’s specialized in since he was in utero, when you ask him to perform basic movement skills, he doesn’t have that capacity.

And it can go even further, beyond the ABC’s you can also work on the RJT’s, or:

  • R – Running,
  • J – Jumping, and
  • T – Throwing.

We created the YAD class at IFAST to help address this.

To help fill in the gaps that our current sports system has left us with.

But most importantly, to give kids a broad movement base that allows them to learn how to move safely and effectively.

This has two major benefits:

  1. It gives them the best chance for long-term athletic success. They may not be as good at 12, 13 or 14 at a specific sport, but when all the chips are on the table later in life these kids are less likely to be injured or burnt-out than their peers.
  2. It gives them a chance to be healthy for their entire life. When kids have been given the gift of physical literacy, then exercise and movement are fun and engaging. They can take these skills and use them for the rest of their life, whether it’s in a gym, in a rec league, or playing with their own children.

I have always felt a strong connection with children, and even more so now that I have two of my own.

I always loved sports growing up, and they were a huge part of my childhood.

And finally, I want my children and my friends’ children to be happy, vibrant and succesful throughout their lives. And I know the role that physical literacy and movement can play in that.

So that, my friends, is why we create the YAD class at IFAST.

If you have a young child who you think could benefit from this class, please contact us via e-mail at [email protected], or call us at 317.578.0998 so we can tell you all about this amazing class.

All the best


PS – If you’re interested in the concept of long-term athletic development (LTAD), the please research the work of Istvan Balyi. And furthermore, many thanks to Grant “Rufus” Gardis for constantly educating and pushing me to get better in this area.

(Lead photo courtesy of Mike Nielsen)

Mike Robertson

  1. I would like to purchase a copy of Bill Hartman’s Golf package. Is it still available?
    Brian Lloyd
    Personal Trainer

    • Hi Brian –

      I emailed you back, but thought I would reply here as well. Unfortunately, that series is no longer available. Bill says the next best thing would be Assess and Correct, a DVD that he produced with his business partner, Mike Robertson. Thank you for your interest!

      Best wishes, Kirsten

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