April 22 2022

The 6-step program built on principles, not tactics

generic - youth - team

The “Youth Athlete Performance Enhancement” industry was founded in the 2000s. It probably existed before, but it became popular in the 2000s and has since exploded. It has become a multi-billion dollar industry. How do you take part in this industry?

How do you build a youth athletic development program that will not only be successful in the short term, but will stand the test of time, make you money, and do right by the student-athletes. Why has this industry exploded?

It’s obvious. Most kids’ value nowadays is defined by his or her sports performance. It defines their value in their friend group, their value on social media to a bunch of people they do not know or like, and sometimes, sadly, the value and worth they feel in their own family.

Sports performance is often a source of ego and pride for parents, so therefore those parents find their value in how much of a beast on the field their child is (you are likely removed from that list if you are still someone reading my articles).

Our industry — athletic performance enhancement — has sabotaged the joy, passion, self-confidence, self-image and the long-term success of our athletes. Ironic seeing as how our ultimate job is to improve those things.

That is why, in 2015, we decided to take an uncommon approach and see if there was a better way. We looked at the 10 human drives for motivation, the six human needs and the major things missing from kids' lives that they were actually craving. We built our program on principles, not tactics.

We decided that although uncommon and maybe even unacceptable, the following 6 steps were most important. These 6 steps are responsible for our program growing at 30%+ year over year for the last 5 years straight. It still blows my mind how simple these steps are but how few are executing them.

The 6 Uncommon Steps to Exploding Your Athlete Performance Program

Step 1: A loving, enthusiastic greeting that made every kid who walked through our doors feel safe, accepted and happier than before they entered. We established that this was the #1 need, the #1 thing missing from these kids’ lives at school and sports practices.

Step 2: Connection and relationship building where trust was established and where kids would know that their “athletic performance coaches” cared more about them as people than we did them as athletes. We have a staff of 3 to 4 Directors of First Impressions who connect with our kids and give them love as soon as they walk through the doors. They “check their pulse” and relay it to our coaches before the session starts so we know how to best coach them that day.

Step 3: Foam rolling and stretching! Physical health and integrity was next because injuries are at an all time high and they are responsible for damaging the body first, then the mind of the student-athlete. We know if we can keep them healthy and help them avoid avoidable injuries, they will stay with us long term and not experience unnecessary setbacks along the way.

Step 4: Circle up for a motivational message from a mentor-leader who is vulnerable, caring and inspiring. If life lessons really are the most important thing sports can teach, we better put them before the physical workout. We have 52 motivational messages we take every single group of athletes through each week. Ninety-nine percent of the kids crave this, even though you would never know by the looks on their faces. This also attracts more kids into our program than just athletes. Parents bring their kids to us to build confidence and strengthen their mindset even if they are not in sports. Talk about an untapped industry in fitness — teenagers not involved in sports but who still want to be fit and be empowered along the way.

Step 5: A comprehensive 10-minute warmup that includes fun, gameplay, connection, but ultimately gets the body fully warmed up and primed for training HARD. Fun and gameplay are essential to kids begging to come back to us. They sit in a classroom all day and are told to be quiet. They come to us and know it is different.

Step 6: Train HARD. Getting kids to work their butts off became much easier when we started putting first things first. We “ease” them into their workout session with steps 1-5. By making them feel emotionally, mentally and physically good first, they naturally want to workout. Imagine that!

We imagine a world where every athletic performance coach, every sports team coach, every teacher and youth influencer follows a similar approach so that the outcome is a happier, more passionate, more confident, higher-performing young man or woman.

Those 6 steps have attracted 500 student-athletes a year into our small group athlete training program. These steps have helped more than 75 athletes get to college to play sports. They have also given hundreds of others, who have stayed at PFP long enough, confidence to say, “I love sports, but they are not my life. I will work out for the rest of my life because it is good for my mind and body and because it is an enjoyable experience. But my value and identity is not in sports.”

Most athlete performance programs focus on marketing, quick and attractive specialty programs and trying to land a big contract with local schools and teams.

Don’t do that — not in the beginning at least. Focus on the experience and the quality of the program. It will result in more word-of-mouth referrals than you know what to do with.

This is The Youth Truth, my friend. This is what we believe is necessary in today’s stat-driven, pressure-packed sports world.

Click here for a video explaining these 6 steps in detail.

For more information on Coach Andrew’s philosophies that have resulted in more impact for their athletes and income for their business, visit www.andrewjsimpson.com/youthtruth.