Getting to the top starts right here
Be it basketball football or baseball, kids the world over dream of one day playing in the big leagues. The glitz and glamor viewers see on television aside, the road to stardom can be a long and lonely one, however.
It all starts with physical fiWnHss, sDys 3T TUDnsIRUmations athletic trainer and lifelong Bristol Borough resident Scott Lynn.
More than that, athletes need to learn at a young age WKH UHflHxHs DnG mRYHmHnWs needed to play a certain sport.
“A lot of these kids have no idea. They wanna run out onto the basketball court and dunk the ball before they learn how to dribble, before they learn how to move side to side,” said Lynn.
“vou have to learn all about the movements before you play the sport.”
He cites the Suburban One LHDguH Ds D gRRG HxDmSOH; the teams that do well are those that have incorporated these types of concepts, he says.
“vou see the teams out there that are thriving – the 1HsKDmLnys WKH 3Hnnsburys.
“There’s a reason for that and it’s because they’re teaching the kids more than just playmaking.”
Two weeks ago, 60-some borough children received SHUKDSs WKHLU fiUsW WDsWH RI Lynn’s medicine at a health & fiWnHss cDmS KRsWHG by the 21st Century Community Learning Center at Snyder-dirotti Middle School.
Lynn and his trusty assistant Daniele Hargenrader have put the kids through their paces – relay races, cone drills and head-to-head races.
“vou make it competitive because they like to compete against one another,” said Scott.
“hids are always trying to compete,” added Daniele.
As part of the Aug. 13 to 16 camp, the kids competed in three-legged races, sidesKuIflH UDcHs, Wug-RI-wDU DnG kLckbDOO. 3DUW RI WKH training involves demonstrations on teamwork.
“Sports is all about the team so we try to teach them that it’s not all about one person,” said Scott.
“The kids are always saying ‘I wanna be the best’ but that’s not what we’re here for – it’s all about teamwork if you’re gonna get to the nHxW OHYHO.”
In the four-day camp funded by the rnited tay of Bucks County and operated by the Manto Sports GURuS, WKH 3T WUDnsIRUmDtion team comes up with something to please everyone.
“te have kids with all GLIIHUHnW fiWnHss OHYHOs sR you have to try to come up with something that everybody can do,” said Scott.
“A ORW RI HxHUcLsH Ls mRUH than just the physical,” he continued. “vou have to OHDUn Dn HxHUcLsH bHIRUH yRu can do it.”
LDsW yHDU, WKH fiWnHss cDmS wDs KHOG DW WKH 3T Transformations gym on Mill Street. This year, the site was switched to Snyder-dirotti to accommodate a larger number of campers.
Hargenrader believes it was easier to keep the kids focused in the gym setting.
“Last year at the gym, it was more centralized. Here, it’s much easier for them to get distracted,” she said. “In the gym, it’s easier to keep them focused. Here, it’s been much more of a challenge.”
Both Lynn and Hargenrader see the kids all year long through the afterschool program operated by the 21st CCLC at St. James Parish Hall. The trainers see who is utilizing – and who’s not – these newfound skills that are taught at summer camp.
Parents with the means pay trainers like Lynn up to $90-an-hour to teach athleticism to their children these types of skills. This camp is free however to any child in the borough entering fourth through 12th grade.
“A lot of parents don’t have the money to allow their kids to go to a sports camp where they learn skills from professionals,” said Daniele. “This is free.”
“Instead of staying home and watching TV, they’re getting out and getting a taste of what it’s like to stay active.”
As opposed to sitting home on the sofa playing video games, like so many of our nation’s youth.
“That whole 60-minutesa-day of activity – 90 percent of our youth isn’t doing it,” said Scott.
And it’s affecting kids, nationally. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 17 percent – 12.5 million – of children and ad- olescents aged 2—19 years are obese.
Video games do nothing wLWK rHJDrd Wo fiWnHVV, VDyV Daniele, not to mention the skill level needed to master a given sport in the real world.
“vou need core strength to ski; you don’t get any of that by skiing on your living rooP floor,” VKH VDyV.
“If you are going downhill and your core is engaged, you’re going to be using muscles you never even thought about using standing on your living rooP floor.
“It’s the whole guitar-hero thing,” adds Scott. “hids that are so good at that video game, they go out and buy a guitar they have no idea what they’re doing. It’s the same thing.”
It’s the difference between standing on a carpet WKDW’V flDW Dnd DcWuDlly JHWting outside and running on D fiHld oI JrDVV, WKHy VDy.
“te interact with the world around us – where our bodies are in relation to our legs, and that’s what we’re teaching here,” said Scott. “te’re trying to be positive role models for these kids.”
There are dance video games, says Daniele, that get users involved enough that it’s exercise.
and actually moving their feet around and that’s great,” said Daniele. “It’s a workout.”
It’s good to get kids moving, says Scott, because when kids move for more WKDn fiYH PLnuWHV DW D WLPH, a bunch of them have a tendency to complain.
“They come to me and say ‘I’m so tired; I have baseball today.’”
“I ask them ‘don’t you think baseball is gonna make you tired?’”
then it comes time for campers to attend football and baseball tryouts, the exercises taught by these two athletic trainers hopefully will help.
“I tell them everything we do here is going to help them,” he says.
“They have an advantage that a lot of other school districts don’t have because all this is free.”
Most of the kids are responding well, says Scott.
“I’ve been here my whole life so it’s nice to see our sports teams and not just our sports teams, our kids thriving and doing the work – wanting to learn,” he said.
veah, but how do they know for sure?
“The ones who wanna learn, they keep coming back,” said Daniele.
Parker races through an inflatable obstacle course two weeks ago at the fitness camp directed by the 21st Century Community Learning Center, the United Way and the Manto Sports Group in Bristol.
Jessica, left, and Gisselle, right, engage in the tug-of-war two weeks ago in Bristol’s fitness camp.