“Teach a Man to Fish” to get the most out of your youth athletes

Welcome to the first of many performance training articles from Compete Strength & Conditioning. We are extremely proud to have worked with some of the most talented and hard- working athletes in the state. Every strength and conditioning facility in the United States can increase an athlete’s vertical jump, knock a few tenths of second off a 40 yard dash time, and have an athlete gain 10 lbs of muscle of one conditioning season. But how can we make this consistent?


Not just with one athlete over a few months but with all athletes over years. Accountability. We hold our athletes accountable for things that only they can control. As I have often seen this term used as “the controllables.” Every athlete can control how well they take care of their body before, during, and after a workout, practice, or game. “The Controllables” are also the KEY elements training regarding recovering techniques. We thoroughly review these elements with all of our athletes. We teach our athletes what they are and supply them with strategies to maximizing all three elements. We will dive into topics in later posts.


As the old saying goes “Give a man fish, he eats for a day. You teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.” We educate our athletes on what it really means to take of their bodies and then we hold them accountable to those behaviors, which hopefully turn into consistent routines. Most young athletes (and their parents) want them to become faster, stronger, score more goals, get a scholarship…who doesn’t! What we have to understand here is that these are only large scale outcomes driven by small scale behaviors. Our youth sports are as competitive as ever and at younger levels. We need to start teaching our young athletes early on the importance of not only working hard on the field but off the field as well. Let’s face it, it’s a group effort at home (kid’s don’t go food shopping and they certainly don’t drive themselves) and it’s this effort that ultimately facilitates consistency on quality care for developing athlete off the field. So let me thank all of the parents in advance, you are the ones that bring this full circle.

This philosophy has allowed us to make large strides with many different kinds of athletes from youth sports all the way up to the professional ranks. It starts and ends with accountability and consistency. These are the little things that go largely unrecognized by everyone else but end up making the biggest difference in the end.