Youth in Fitness Blog
Helping Kids to enjoy the benefits of play and movement.


I found this video post and story at the CNN website today. I would love to know what you think:

Click Here for Story


Let us know your comments below. These types of stories always get people debating  and arguing over what is best for kids.

Have a great day.



Hi there. This is from my friend and basketball compadre Tyler Smith. Please read:

From: Tyler Smith (Former Penn State Basketball Player who now plays professionally overseas. This season he is in Japan with his wife (Cara) and daughter (Hannah) and he plays for Hitachi. Sadly, he does not get paid in flat-screens.)

Hey Hooligans,

I was inspired this past summer by a friend of mine who ran a half-marathon and dedicated her run to a young boy who was battling cancer. She listens to her iPod when she runs these insane distances. I am not sure anything could distract me from wanting to kill myself if I were to run 13 miles. But, she is a warrior and I’m a little school girl deep down inside.

For a small donation, you were able to be a part of her run and pick a song that she listened to on her run. The money went to the young boy who was fighting for his life.

Given the rules of paying for songs, the cruel side of me wanted to buy every song for her run so that she only listened to the music I chose. And I would then tell her it was Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On”. On repeat. For 13 glorious miles.

Her lawyer said that it wouldn’t go down like that. So, I naturally picked the most inspirational tune known to man that we all secretly know the words to by heart. Ice Ice Baby. Dum dum dum da da dum dum (ch).

Anyway, I began thinking that maybe I could do something similar in regards to raising awareness and funds for a cause that meant something important to me. Something that helped people who may be in need. Rather than just playing basketball, I want to turn it into something more.

I recently came across a guy named Doc Hendley who is turning Wine into Water. He started a non-profit organization “WINE TO WATER” ( that is focused on providing clean water to needy people around the world. He holds wine tastings in the US and the donations made during those events go towards clean water projects around the world in India, Sudan, Cambodia, and other developing countries. He is nominated as one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2009.

Personally, I drink a ton of water everyday. I sweat more than 99% of you on a daily basis b/c of basketball. And one of the best parts of my day is when there is a break in practice. I walk over to the water cooler. I take a huge swig (yeah I said swig). It’s cold, clean, and rejuvenates me. Never for a second do I think that my water might be contaminated. I would shove my tiny Japanese manager Sakamoto in a trashcan if it were. Never do I worry that I could get sick. Or that the water little Hannah drinks at home could give her a disease.

But, the fact is that 1 billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water. Here I am chugging it down like a whale. My heart goes out to people who drink and bathe in the same dirty water. Or those who walk 3-5 hours each day to get clean water. Tragic. Occasionally I am too lazy to walk 3-5 steps. What a loser I can be.

So, here is the game plan. My thought is that for every point I score and every rebound I grab this year I am going to make a donation to this organization (Wine to Water) that provides clean water to those who don’t have it.

I’d like you to join me.

Yeah yeah. Everyone is asking you for money and you don’t have any. Listen, my personal feeling is that literally any amount counts. A little old lady once put 2 practically worthless coins in an offering tray a while ago and this guy named Jesus said she gave more than the big dawgs who gave their hundreds and thousands of dollars. Every bit helps.

When was the last time you were really thirsty? On a long car ride, so you pulled over? During a workout, so you grabbed your water bottle? Tasted divine. Didn’t it?

Just to give you an idea of how many points I may score or rebounds I may grab. It looks kind of like this:

Current PT Ave – 10 pts/game ( x 40 – 50 games) = 400-500 total points (approximately for the full season)

Current Reb Ave. – 3.6 rb/game (quit laughing) ( x 40 – 50 games) = 150-180 total rebounds (approx. for the full season)

This is assuming I don’t suddenly catch fire and go Kobe-esque on my small samurai competitors.

EXAMPLE: if you donated $0.10 per point I score this season you would donate about $50. You can donate $0.01 per point if you want. Seriously. No one will know. I’ll never judge you on it. You’ll be contributing to save lives and bring hope to people who may not have much.

You can donate however you’d like. Donate per point. Per Rebound. Both. Or something you make up on your own like personal fouls or number of Japanese words I learn to yell at the refs.

We’ll even throw in some wild card donations for you gamblers.

A Dunk – $25 (I haven’t had one since…… ummmmmm…. I’ll get back to you on that)

A Championship – $100 (my team Hitachi made the Finals last year, but has never won one)

NBA Call-up – $250 (hey, you never know. Celtics could be scouring Japan’s league as we speak for the next white sensation)

As the season progresses, I will update you on my points and rebounds. (Maybe I should give back $ for turnovers). At the end of the basketball season (April ’10), I will inform you of my total points and rebounds. And you can make your official donation then by check, cash, gold bullion, or credit card online via PayPal. 100% of the money will go to Wine To Water. Zero to me and my Krispy Kreme Addiction.

If you’d rather make your donation monthly b/c that is easier, I can arrange that. I just figured that 1 lump sum would be simpler at the end of the season.


* The Top 2 donors will receive an authentic Hitachi “Smith” Jersey. Highly limited (value is debatable). I will wash it first.

* The Next Top 5 donors will get a signed Hitachi basketball poster by the whole team. They’re pretty sweet.

* Top Next Top 20 donors will get a Hitachi trading card of me. Yes, you can put it in your bike spokes.

* EVERY donor will receive regular updates from me with ridiculous Japan basketball stories and the point and rebound update.

Please join me in this small but significant effort to make a difference. The change from your car ash trash counts. My goal is to raise $17,500 by the end of the season which is enough for 35 new clean water wells in a place like Cambodia. I wear #35. (Wells are $500 each)

Please pass this along to others so more can be involved. They get a ton of spam anyway. What’s one more? 🙂

I can’t imagine what it’s like to not have clean water. Let’s help make it so that others don’t have to live without it.

Gratefully Yours,
Sweaty Guy Ty

If you are interested, please just send me a one-liner saying you are in and however much you’d like to contribute. Arigato.

Watch as I now turn into the White Japanese Lebron. A slower, weaker, and less explosive version. But, I can throw white hand chalk way higher in the air than him.

90-sec video of Wine to Water – Click here
Blog Updates: Click here


I found a very interesting 8 page article today in the New York Times. The link is here:
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I have not read the whole article yet but I have read much of it. I have read a summary about it and the article basically discusses how Tennis athletes are developed in Russia, specifically Moscow. The author actually went to visit the Spartak Tennis Academy and see for himself how the athletes are trained. The title is “How to Grow a Super Athlete”.

Brian Grasso, the founder of the IYCA or International Youth Conditioning Association sent an e-mail today discussing this very article. Here is an excerpt from Grasso’s critique:

“Although I understand that many people feel as though the apparent
cultural differences between Russia and the United States in terms of adopting a ‘skill-based’ developmental structure to youth sports, is what accounts for our inability to create such a worthwhile system, but to me, it has less to do with societal factors and much more to do with coaching talent.

European coaches (especially in places like Russia) are vastly superior to U.S. coaches in terms of understanding nervous system plasticity, talent identification, multilateral development and pedagogical science.

More over, the best and most talented coaches in North America, almost 100% of the time, work with our more elite athletes – this leaves volunteer Moms and Dads to work with our most precious athletic commodity: children.”

Head on over to the New York Times article to read for yourself about how youn g athletes are trained in other countries and how we can learn from them. This is in fact the way we train our young athletes and non-athletes in the IYCA and “Youth in Fitness”.
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Have a great day!.



My friend Todd Dattoli who is also a certified Youth Fitness Specialist posted this video on his blog. Thanks Todd for sharing.

The video is about obesity. That word makes me sick. I do not like to hear it and I especially do not want to hear about an obese child. But guess what? There are obese kids out there. Does that make you sick? It should.

What we are trying to do at Youth in Fitness is make a difference to kids. Parents know how tough it is to make sure their kids eats right, that he or she gets some exercise and that their kids don’t watch too much TV or play on those video games for 8 hours straight. Ultimately it is the parents who do make the difference in the lives of their kids. No excuses.

In essence then our job is to help educate the parents about what to do and to also provide outstanding programs and services for their children. The IYCA and Youth in Fitness is 100% dedicated to making this a reality and to making a difference if the lives of 1 kid at a time.

Please choose to be a part of molding the future of your children in a positive way. We are with you all the way.

We welcome your comments and questions.

Todd from Youth in Fitness


What is it about the word exercise?  What does that word conjure up for you? I don’t think kids really understand what exercise means.  At least the real young kids.

I’m not sure when they get that realization that exercise is boring. Maybe it is P.E. class in school. If you ask kids who play sports and have fun doing it I bet they won’t even think they are exercising.
They just know they are having fun and sweating while they do it.  That’s good enough for me.

What we are trying to do at Youth in Fitness, through the IYCA (International Youth Conditioning Association), is to get kids moving again so they enjoy moving around.  We used to call this “Play”.  Unfortunately many kids today enjoy sitting in front of a TV or computer screen or video game more than they do playing outside. This has to change.

We encourage free play of course.  That is so important for kids and their development.  No question.  We also realize that not all kids even know how to play anymore.  That is where we come in.  We know how to play! We want to get your kid active and moving and have fun doing it.

Let’s all work together to make sure kids can be kids and let’s give them the opportunity to have fun and move and laugh and sing and have joy in their lif.


The Team at Youth in Fitness


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Our mission is to help all children to appreciate and enjoy a lifetime of physical movement and activity.