Burn with Kearns: Kids growing up strong – Kevin Kearns

By Kevin Kearns, contributing writer

As a father of two, I know how all of us feel. We want are kids to grow up strong and healthy – as well as limit the amount of pain and difficulty they are going to come up against. When it comes to sports and life, we want to give them all the tools to succeed. I can think of no better place than team sports and individual fitness. The challenge is most people do not realize that if you improve your child’s level of fitness, you improve their performance. As an added benefit their confidence improves.

We cannot teach them the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. They must learn that on their own. We can only help them manage those emotions. To me as a coach, I can think of no better way to help them manage the latter, improve their performance and gain confidence than with additional sport specific and general fitness training.

The big challenge facing us all is we live in a “ sue happy” society. Very few people will step in and push children a little harder each time. I have seen it with my own children’s sports. One plays basketball and the other plays volleyball.  After watching a couple of tournaments for both, I noticed a few places to enhance all the children’s performances.

  1. They needed to warm up properly
  2. They needed to cool down
  3. They needed to add flexibility in their programing
  4. They needed core strength
  5. They needed agility work
  6. They needed balance work
  7. They needed full body exercise for spatial awareness

Now I don’t claim to be a basketball player (trust me, I’m lucky if I can dribble ) and I’m only a decent volleyball player. Add in the fact that I was the kid who was “Always Picked Last”). However, I do understand movement.

Children are not that hard to train. They can be trained just like adults. You just have to make it fun, short and interesting. You take a movement like a plank and put it on a Bosu and call it “Ride the Wave”, and they love it. The wrinkle I feel is we are being over-protective of our young people. Instead of letting them point and click, they should be out running, jumping and climbing. I once heard a parent say that monkey bars are a bad thing. Really?

Here are some simple drills and skills for children for any sport.

The Keys are simple, activate the 5 elements of fitness – push, pull, level change, rotation, and locomotion. We need to build confidence in our young people because they are our greatest asset.

We suggest 30 seconds of an exercise with 15 to 20-second breaks and about 5 to 8 stations.

  1. Monkey Punches – Stand in front of the Bosu and squat down. Now jump up in the air and when you come down, hammer strike the Bosu.
  2. Whack a Mole – in a push up position have the child start with hands on the Bosu. Now have them alternate lifting a hand off the Bosu and whacking it.
  3. Leap Frogs – with a fitness trampoline have the child stand in front of the unit and then jump onto the trampoline.
  4. Caterpillar Rolls – have the child lay on the stability ball in a prone position on their shoulder blades. Now without using their hands try and roll over to their stomach on the ball.
  5. Punch Crunch – sitting on a Bosu, have the child sit up and hit the focus mitts in alternating fashion.

We need to build confidence in our young people because they are our greatest asset. Overprotection is something we all need to look at and move beyond.


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Coach Kevin Kearns, BS FMS  CPT – Direct: 508 404 8503

Both of Coach Kearns’ books may be purchased on For more information about Coach Kevin Kearns, including scheduling speaking engagements and classes (both online and in person), please contact him at 508-404-8503 or

Author of “There’s Light In The Tunnel” How to Survive and Thrive with Depression  – “Always Picked Last“ A guide to navigating bullies on Amazon and Audible

Coach Kevin Kearns has been coaching in the world of fitness, nutrition, and tactical self defense for over 3 decades. As the former conditioning coach to 15 UFC Pro Fighters, and ranked in the Top 5 in the UFC , he is no stranger to the the importance of proper nutrition and proper mindset programming. He has long advocated to all his clients – athletes or the general population – about the importance of programming mind, body and spirit. 

Coach Kevin Kearns BS FMS CPT – Former conditioning coach to 15 UFC Pros Ranked in Top 5 by the UFC Personal Fitness Coach, Author, Columnist, Motivational Speaker, Corporate Wellness Consultant, Youth Wellness Program Provider, Certification Specialist, Personal Self Defense, and Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics Specialist

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