Program Design & Implementation: Junior Fitness – Developing Athletes

Beth Diaz is the Director of Fitness at Atlantic Beach Country Club in Atlantic Beach, Florida.

Golf fitness is no longer just for tour players or amateurs rehabbing their bodies – it has become part of many player development programs, including those geared towards juniors. With 850 junior members, we are creating a program that goes beyond just golf for juniors, and implements concepts that will help all young athletes, regardless of what sport they play.

We promoted our Long-Term Athletic Development Program with a video emailed to all the parents detailing our mission and goals, as well as the nuts and bolts of what the program entails. This information has allowed parents the opportunity to consider the content and merits of the program and the benefits of participation for their kids. We would normally host a parent workshop, bringing everyone together to introduce the program, but in 2020 we opted for the video instead.

The idea behind the program is to create athletes first and foremost, and we do this by offering movement patterns that complement the repetitive motions kids encounter in their primary sport. With such repetition, we often ignore a good portion of the body that does not contribute to those motions – this program is in place to address those untapped movements and muscles.

We offer a free preview of the program to allow kids to engage in the various activities and exercises that will be prominent in the sessions (pictured, right). The format of the program includes various stations that have participants going through such motions as throwing, kicking and jumping, to name just a few.

Each kid spends no more than three minutes at each station, ensuring they are fully-engaged for the whole activity before getting bored or distracted. The youngest participants (ages 5-9) work on fundamental movements, whereas the next level (ages 10-13) gets more sports-specific. Beyond that, one-on-one training becomes the optimal way to continued growth and progress.

The small group classes take place outdoors to ensure we maintain all health and wellness protocols, and we implement a subscription plan to ensure prompt payment and advance notice of how many juniors we’ll have for each session, again making sure we don’t have more kids than we should under the required COVID measures.