January 6, 2005
In 15 years of training youths, Bob Davis has seen a handful of truly gifted athletes. Those aren’t the kids he developed his exercise software for.
"We are going after the average kid," said Davis, who owns the Strength of America youth development facility in Mesa. "We are going after kids who want to get fit, prevent injuries and build confidence."
Ideally, the software ($40, www.strengthamerica.com), components of which include speed, agility, power, flexibility and strength, could be implemented in schools. He’d like to see volunteer coaches use the exercise software rather than outdated routines. "So much of what we know about fitness has changed over the years," said the former University of Nebraska assistant strength and conditioning coach. He’d like to see youths old enough to exercise on their own doing so as part of a healthy lifestyle.
"So many kids, unless they are involved in sports, are not getting any physical activity," Davis said. By age 14 or 15, many of those adolescents are overweight. But more importantly, they are unfit. Davis recently administered a two-minute step test to a group of youths and was amazed at how poorly they fared.
"This is about basic conditioning," Davis said of the software, adding that 130 different drills, exercises made easier or harder based on intensity, are included on the disk. With young children, the focus is on proper mechanics. Older kids can speed up routines to increase difficulty. The software, two years in the making, was developed with 10- to 14-yearolds in mind, but children ages 8 to 17 have used it.
Meg Hansen, volleyball coach and physical education teacher at Taylor Junior High School in Mesa, has used it with her students. "As a P.E. teacher in a public school, it would be impossible to design individual programs for more than 100 students," Hansen said. This program allows that, she said. "It is efficient and individual."
Mike Hebting coaches baseball at Shepherd Junior High School in Mesa and has seen it used successfully there. But he doesn’t believe the software’s application is limited to schools. "Our kids come home, they do their homework, and then they play computer games," Hebting said. "We’ve got to do something to make them healthy."
Included on the software is 20 weeks of daily exercise and demonstration video clips. A 108-page manual also can be downloaded.