By Ken Kaiserman
Elite Athlete Training
Most kids love
playing sports. It’s one of the passions that bind friends and families
together. Given that few play beyond age 12, I’ve written many articles
focused on how to keep kids having fun and learning “life lessons” from
participation in sports. Yet, some of these kids will play through high
school and it is a worthwhile goal; in addition to the obvious benefits,
participation in high-school activities has been shown to promote a higher
GPA as well as lower the instances of drug usage or teenage pregnancy.
Elite Athletes Need More Skill
matter how badly we may want these benefits, only a few of the kids
participating in youth programs will suit up for the local high school. How
can we help a kid who shows the inclination, desire and natural ability to
reach the initial goal of being a varsity athlete? What is our
responsibility as parents, coaches and role models for that select number of
kids who still dream of being professional athletes after turning 12?
kids are limited physically from moving on after youth programs, a far
greater number eliminate
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Coach’s Corner, Continued
themselves through a lack of desire and improper training. Being “athletic”
is certainly an important part of moving on, but often the best athletes
aren’t the most successful. Top performers are wired to succeed and have a
tremendous motivation to achieve. Sometimes we can help develop desire, but
natural athletic ability and a willingness to work hard are character traits
that can only be slightly molded. The focus needs to be on what we can
willing to put in the effort and who have the basic talent, parents and
coaches can help these kids develop the best technique. In this way, just
like John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success suggests: kids will be successful by
reaching the maximum potential their ability will allow. Each sport has a
“right way” to do things. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it will make
good habits or bad ones permanent. Therefore, the crucial element for
parents is it to give access to the best available training so that kids can
do it the “right way”.
Quarterback Combine Creates Good Habits
There are many ways that kids can work to improve their fundamental skills and
many of the best athletes are already taking advantage of coaching sessions
with professionals. Private training and camps are expensive, especially in
this economic climate, ranging from $25-$300 an hour. While there are more
cost effective methods like specialty instructional DVD’s and even free
website instruction (both available at SportsKids.com
), if you can afford
high end private training it can be hugely beneficial for developing quality
the best football instructors in the country, based in Beverly Hills, is
Coach Jio Lucci. Coach Luchi has been running one of the preeminent football
training programs for several years, including private instruction and an
offseason 20 week intensive Quarterback Combine for offensive players
Kids from all over the country flock for his training because Coach Lucci
focuses on making quarterbacks game ready. If your child wants to play
quarterback, one of the most demanding positions in all of sports, they’re
going to need to develop a number of crucial skills. Coach Lucci states:
“The basics of handing off the ball, footwork, and the proper throwing
motion that leads to both accuracy and consistency are paramount to being a
top, game-ready quarterback.” High school coaches may either not be
knowledgeable enough or have enough time to develop a player starting out as
a freshman. The kid who is the most game ready has a huge advantage over
also speaks from personal experience as the dad of Beverly Hills High School
starting quarterback Dex Lucci. As a little kid Dex wanted not just to be a
football player, but a quarterback. Coach Lucci understood that “if you want
to be a doctor then you have to do what it takes to be a doctor. Dex wanted
to be a quarterback so he had to be willing to do what it takes to be a
quarterback”. It is part of the parents’ job to help each child reach their
dreams. Lucci continues: “It’s taken over 10 years, five days a week, to
build the mechanics and fundamentals that have allowed Dex to succeed."
The goal was always to play high school football, get to
Coach’s Corner, Continued
college and, maybe even play at the next level. By any measure, to this point, he’s been a success.
Playing against older kids he set records for passing touchdowns that will
likely never be broken for the Westside Bruins Pop Warner football team. As
a freshman in high school he threw 20 TD’s against only 3 INT. Now as a
three year varsity starter, he has letters of interest from over 100
Coach Lucci feels that developing the proper technique and fundamentals is “1000%
responsible” for his son’s success. “Fundamentals and mechanics have
everything to do with success: hips, footwork, throwing motion all have to
be natural, with speed, velocity, quickness and strength put together in an
effortless movement. That only comes with perfect mechanics that leads to
good habits that can be applied at the highest level. That’s where all the
practice and training come in.”
The best part of all the hard work is the great relationship developed between father and
son that could never have happened without the countless hours together.
Even if you’re only there supporting your kids, developing a special
relationship through the shared experience of high intensity training can
offer unique bonding opportunities. Coach Lucci believes that all the time
with his son, through Pop Warner and all the drills over the years, allowed
them to grow much closer together than they could have otherwise. Through
all the time and mutual effort, Coach Lucci has learned the balance of
treating Dex like a player on the field and as his son at home.
Dex has also taken part in the QB Combine for many years. Coach Lucci feels
the best part of the combine is the “impeccable coaching staff that
absolutely knows what they’re doing and won’t let up on anybody; they will
make everybody game ready. It’s fast, quick, high impact, high intensity;
this is not a camp or clinic for fun and games. The Combine is for the best
and for those willing to learn how to be the best, all being mixed together
and improving.” The Combine has been 100% successful in every way including
Coach Lucci’s unique desire to help each athlete develop the determination
to be good.
In many parts of the country kids don’t have the ability to go outside to play like
we used to do; the days of riding your bike to the park or playing on the
street until the street lights turn on are nostalgic. In part this leads to
over scheduling even though the alternative is often just more time on the
PS3. There is more homework and other time commitments now than in past
generations, but there are still athletes working on improving their game
every day. These are the kids setting the standard and are the competition
for everybody else. Even if your child isn’t the best athlete, if he or she
is dedicated, then having the best skill set can enable them to accomplish
their goals. If your child wants to be an elite athlete in high school and
beyond then today is the right time to start specialized training. Maybe
we’ll see you and your kids out at the QB Combine this offseason.
Monthly Trivia Test
We’ve got great Trivia games for beginning to master SportsKids – try our
“Half-Court Shot” Basketball Game and find the answers to these questions at
great NBA coach first coached in the CBA?
A) Phil Jackson
B) Don Nelson
C) Bill Russell
D) Lenny Wilkins
holds the NCAA Division I Men’s basketball record for most points in a game?
A) Pete Maravich
B) Frank Selvy
C) Jack Givens
D) Wilt Chamberlain
3) John Stockton has five the top six highest single season assist averages. Which player is the only other in the top six (3rd)?
A) Isiah Thomas
B) Magic Johnson
C) Kevin Porter
D) Gary Payton
4) Who was the first woman college player inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame?
A) Nancy Lieberman
B) Lusia Harris
C) Ann Meyers
D) Cheryl Miller
5) Who is the all-time scoring leader in NCAA Tournament history?
A) Michael Jordan
B) Pete Maravich
C) Christian Laettner
D) Shane Battier
There are trivia games in general sports, baseball, football, hockey,
basketball and “Sports Math” in three different skill levels. Test your
sports skills against kids around the world in the
SportsKids Game Section.
Answers: (1) A (2) B (3) A (4) B (5) C
Monthly Sports Poll
1) Do you feel it is important to play some sport in high school?
2) Do you or your child participate in any group training to improve
your athletic skills?
3) Do you or your child participate in any private training to improve
4) How many hours a week, including practice and training sessions, do
you or your child participate in sports activities?
- Less than 5 hours a week
- 5-10 hours a week
- 10-15 hours a week
- 15-20 hours a week
- More than 20 hours a week
Last month’s Poll results:
1) How often do you feel your kid gives their best effort?
- All of the time (24.24%)
- Most of the time (51.52%)
- Some of the time (12.12%)
2) What do you feel is more important for kids?
- Effort (78.79%)
- Results (21.21%)
3) Which is your child happier with?
- Effort (24.24%)
- Results (75.76%)