Well isn’t this the question of the year: is youth strength and conditioning a good investment?
As much as I want to make this a one-word article, say “yes,” and leave ya’ll hanging…..I won’t.
A topic like this, to that end, requires an in-depth discussion that makes people ponder deeply. I want to approach this piece from all angles, provide a myriad of circumstances and caveats, and propel people to rethink what they’re spending their money on.
You’re probably wondering why I’m writing on such a controversial subject like money.
Look: I’ve been a strength and conditioning coach and soccer trainer in the private sector for over seven years, and there’s been several statements I’ve beeb bombarded with throughout my career:
1. “Your services are too expensive,” says the mom who drives away in her white Range Rover.
2. “We can’t afford you,” says the dad who spends $6 a day on venti lattes at Starbucks Coffee.
3. “Your hourly rate is too high,” say the parents who just bought their child a $1,000 iPad.
4. “Do you offer any discounts or free sessions?” asks the mom who parades around with a Coach purse.
If you’re a performance coach, have you heard these words uttered before?
Or, if you’re a parent, have you said any of these to a potential strength coach before?
I’m going to get right to it: any qualified strength coach who puts out quality programs will be expensive. End of story.
Adding on, any quality coach will be an investment.
Sure, you could hire the coach who charges $10 per kid for group sessions, but he won’t be 1) individualizing programs 2) teaching with his full energy or 3) checking in on athletes on a regular basis or 4) attending athletes’ games to see what else they need to work on.
But, if you want a cookie cutter, get-in-and-get-out service, then this option is for you.
On the flip side, if you want a customized, meticulous service for strength and conditioning that develops your child for the long haul with great care, be ready to cut back on Louis Vutton handbags and put some serious cash toward a true professional.
Oops. I said it.
After all, this type of professional has spent years of graduate school, while working full-time to get better at their craft.
This type of professional has hands-on experience with over 1,000 athletes and 10,000 sessions.
This type of professional is 100% invested in your child for their long-term career.
This type of professional has gotten all of their clients tremendous results.
This type of professional has attention-to-detail.
This type of professional takes their job seriously.
This type of professional treats athletic development like art.
Right off the bat, I can name several names in the industry who are like this, and who aren’t cheap. True. Freaking. Professionals.
Alas, if I had a kid, I would trust them to take care of my child, both physically and mentally.
In fact, some of the best compliments I’ve received over the years have been these:
“Strength training has been a game changer for my child’s depression and anxiety.”
“Focusing on fitness has improved my child’s grades in school.”
“My daughter can’t get enough of your Pull-Up workouts. They make her feel empowered.”
Of course, I could ramble on with scientific jargon, force velocity curves and the impact of strength training on speed development, but what I care more about is the mental impact of training for kids.
As mentioned above, many youth athletes who have come into my facility have noticed confidence changes first.
And you know what’s really freaking funny?
Not one parent has said to me, “gosh. I really regret spending money on training for my child.”
Or, no one has declared, “man, I really regret paying Coach Erica to take my child away from video games all day and inspire fitness in them for a lifetime.”
Not once. In over my seven years as a youth strength coach.
Alas, I digress.
I’m no financial advisor here. I’m just a soccer chick in Baltimore, MD trying to propel people to think deeply about life.
And truthfully, I don’t need to be a money guru to tell you that kids thrive when they’re strong, and that it would be wise to spend money on their physical development. Especially in today’s digital age – when sedentary and obesity in children is at an all-time high, yeah. It’s wise. Adding on, physical education in schools is waning, and kids are active during the day for all but a meager 15 minutes.
So hey. If you’re tempted to hit up Walmart, spend a ton of money, and leave with a cart full of useless junk, then cool. But somewhere out there, there’s a caring strength coach who wants to motivate your child to LOVE movement.
At the end of the day, people will spend money on what they want to spend money on. They will say injury prevention and speed training for their kid is important, yet they fail to invest in it. As I’ve mentioned before, humans are funny.
After all, there’s no right or wrong here, but let me ask you this: is your intent shown through your actions?
What I mean is, if your intent is to build your child up into their most athletic, strongest self and love fitness when their sport career ends, then what are you doing to take action on that?
You probably think I’m pointing fingers at you.
Fine. I am.
Admittedly, that’s why I write with blunt prose: to make people ponder on serious topics.
So if you’re wondering whether youth strength and conditioning is a good investment, yes, it is.
Over the past seven years, it’s been amazing to see kids develop physically and mentally.
They have learned how to believe in themselves.
How to overcome adversity.
How to overcome feats of strength.
How to stay committed and disciplined.
All in the name of strength training.
So do you want to ignore me, or invest?
Again, I’m no financial advisor.
I’m a thought provoker.