Youth Fitness/Performance Lessons from the Providence Functional Training Summit

Posted: June 11, 2013 by dannytwoguns in 2013 Seminars

Im currently settling back into the swing of things after attending the Perform Better Functional Training Summit and while it was a fast paced, information packed weekend, Im ready and excited to start implementing some of the things I’ve learned.

I took a different approach this year than I did last year. Last year at the Providence summit, I attended only the lecture sessions (the summit offers a choice of 2 lectures and 2 hands-on sessions every 75 minute time slot). Each presenter has a topic and each topic has a corresponding lecture and a hands-on session. This year, with plans to attend all three summits I had the opportunity to attend a presenters lecture as well as hands-on so I could get the full experience of the topic and presenter.

The lecture only’s I attended were…
Thomas Plummer – Building a Training Brand
Duane Carlisle – The 5 Pillars of Speed Development
Coach Dos – Builder Better Athletes
Jon Torine – Programming : More Than Sets and Reps
Gray Cook – Exploring Functional Movement
Exploring Functional Movement Lecture
Picture of Gray Cook’s lecture. Lets play who can find the back of my head?

All were great with a lot of take home and actionable information, especially the building a training brand talk from Tom Plummer as the business topics always interest me the most. What I want to focus on now is the lectures plus hands on sessions that I attended, particularly two of them.

The lectures as well as hands-on sessions that I attended were…

Bill Parisi – Becoming a Legendary Youth Performance Coach
Martin Rooney – Hurricane Training : Metabolic Work Made Simple
Greg Rose – Developing Rotary Power in Athletes
Art Horne – Injury Purgatory : Atypical Training Strategies for Injury Reduction and Improved Performance

For now I want to focus on Bill Parisi and Greg Rose. Both of their topics were centered around training youth “athletes”, I use the quotes because they are all athletes in a sense even though they don’t all necessarily compete. Martin Rooney blew me away in both his lecture and hands-on, this will be a post in itself in the near future but not what I want to focus on right now.

I am in the process of starting my youth performance and fitness programs here in Erie and these topics were perfect timing for me. I’ve had the itch and desire for a while and finally got the ball rolling after attending the IYCA Summit.

Bill Parisi – Becoming a Legendary Youth Performance Coach


Bill Parisi owns the Parisi Speed Schools franchise and has a ton of facilities across the country and is one of the leading experts in youth performance training.

A couple of take homes from his lectures…
– Today’s youth are the first generation not expected to outlive their parents. Kids and teens are so out of shape and move so poorly that even with the plethora of positive changes in technology and everything else, we’ve regressed so much that they will have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
– Youth performance/fitness coaches have a responsibility to be a role model and an impactful coach in an era where; the average parent has under 40 minutes of meaningful conversation with their teens each week, the average teen sends 3,000! text messages a month, and 91% of teens admit to being bullied.
– Communication is paramount and equally as important as the training itself.
– Build mastery in the foundations/fundamentals, don’t worry about all the fancy stuff
– Make it fun, challenging and safe
– Teach them how to warm up, then teach them movement, then teach them strength
– Teach them recovery – no teens sleep enough or eat anywhere near adequately

His hands on session focused on the build mastery in the fundamentals aspect of his lecture. It is easy to get caught up in all of the hype of the fitness industry and the “make them tired at all costs” approach and variety for the sake of variety current trends are taking but kids and teens are moving worse and worse each year. You can’t get a metabolic or performance effect from training if they don’t have the foundation built and the fundamentals mastered.

Master the fundamentals and then move on to harder variations of the fundamentals. Seems crazy simple but hype, marketing and crossfit seem to make us forget.

Greg Rose – Developing Power for Rotary Athletes

Along the same lines of why I wanted to see both of Bill Parisi’s youth performance sessions, I wanted to see both of Greg Rose’s because he works a ton with youth athletes, particularly golfers and has amazing theories and facts about the development of children as athletes, starting at 4 years old.

He stated that there are “4 windows” of development in youth athletes that determines their success as an athlete as well as their fitness level. The windows are speed 1, speed 2, strength and power. The athlete who hit all four of those windows growing up and developing are the ones who become elite athletes or have the highest potential to be one.

To paraphrase a 75 minute lecture explaining this, the long and short of it is there are points in development where you are growing fast, this is around 4-7 years old for girls and 5-8 for boys, which correlates to the speed 1 window, and puberty, which correlates to speed 2 when you should train fast, hence being called speed windows. These speed windows need to address speed and mobility as you cannot build strength without it and additionally strength cannot be built in the absence of testosterone, which puberty brings.

The strength window comes after the onset of puberty when testosterone can make strength and muscle gains stick and goes into the college age years. This isn’t to say that power isn’t trained to some extent then but the official sport specific power window follows once speed and strength have both been established in the college and “graduate school” age years.

Each phase has specific training adaptations that will yield the best physical result and should focus on those only. His hands-on session went over his warm up he uses which emphasizes quality and functional movements starting from lying on the ground, to quadruped (on all fours), kneeling and then standing, like the approach we take at Twoguns Training Systems.

The main aspect of the hands-on revolved around how you screen and assess an athlete or clients potential for performance using a vertical jump test, sit up and throw test, a baseline “shotput” throw test and a seated chest throw test as well as some methods of training he uses for reactivity and power in youth athletes.

What does all this mean?

Both lectures and both hands-on sessions essentially debunked the main industry myth that you can’t train children/youth. While it is certainly responsible to say that you shouldn’t but a barbell on a 6 year olds back or have a 12 year old do crossfit but research and logic shows that there not only are but there should be encouraged training methods for children and youth athletes, you just have to find the approach and methodologies that suit them best.

I am in the process of starting my youth fitness and performance programs. I think it is a definite need in the industry and especially in Erie to get kids moving better and more often and this weekend was definitely a great step in the direction of making them better and healthier. Stay tuned for more information as I progress through it and start it up.

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