Past the End Zone: Foundations in Movement Build Happier Kids, Better Athletes

By Amy Stevens | Posted 11/1/2021

Building an elite program starts from the ground up. While elite athletes clearly are proficient in the skills of their sport, their foundation is forged in athletic movements learned at a young age. Jeremy Frisch, owner of Achieve Performance Training in Massachusetts and a member of USA Football’s Coach Advisory Council, knows this well.

Frisch focuses on training kids during prime developmental years (approximately ages 5-12) in foundational athletic movements such as balance, coordination, spirting, falling, rolling, jumping and rough-and-tumble play. With a wealth of knowledge in effective ways for youth athletes to train, Frisch consults U.S. Ski and Snowboard, helping the organization build a development program for youth skiers and snowboarders.

Frisch know that the best skiers and snowboarders are not just that; they are the best all-around athletes. Kids who possess a solid foundation in things like stabilization, jumping and flexibility will have the most success in every sport they love.

Having skills like speed, balance and coordination isn’t limited to just one sport. As Frisch put it, “You have a better chance of being a successful athlete in any sport if you are introduced to lots of different movement activities in your developmental years. You don’t always have to be competing. You don’t always have to be specializing. As a kid, you really shouldn’t. You are more likely to have more opportunities in several different activities with this baseline of athleticism, not to mention the social and mental health benefits you can get during those years in a sports setting.

“The goal is to provide the child with the widest variety of movements; you want to introduce them to everything that you can at a young age,” Frisch added. However, he also noted that training can be very draining on young athletes in all sports kids play, including football. Sports simply need to stay fun. “If you make it enjoyable enough, they will want to come back.

Regardless of young athletes’ long-term aspirations to compete at a high level, kids who possess a basic athletic foundation and movement skills are more fit overall, which often leads to improved mental health and happiness.

Frisch sums up his work with a long-range view: “I want to be able to look at parents and kids and know that I did everything I could to give them the best shot in whatever it is they end up doing.”

Members of USA Football’s Coach Advisory Council assist in the development of programs, resources and support for coaches and youth league commissioners, providing input on meeting the needs of these dedicated volunteers across all demographics. As the sport’s national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, more than 700,000 USA Football Youth Coach Certifications have been completed in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and 10 foreign countries across four continents since 2012. In addition, USA Football has conducted more than 1,300 in-person coaching clinics for nearly 50,000 volunteer coaches from all 50 states and 11 foreign countries since 2010 



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