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Advice from the Expert
Athletic Training

by Kaytlyn Mroz

How do you teach athletes about their body movements?

We start right from the get-go in the warm-up getting [the athletes] to move with more coordination and that will translate into them being more effective in their class. We are always showing them the Parisi mechanics of using opposite arms to opposite legs so even when they are doing something simple like lunges, we are still reinforcing good habits. As coaches, we are trying to break habits these athletes have had their entire lives. If it goes unnoticed in the warm-up, they will continue those bad habits throughout the class. Change happens the moment they step out on the turf.

Not many young athletes understand much about their hips or why it’s such an important thing to stay loose. We’re always stressing that because that is a big area of weakness and instability in our young athletes so when it comes to a strength class, we make sure to also incorporate things to strengthen their hips.

How does training limit the chance for injuries in athletes?

We not only teach the athletes how to speed up, but how to slow down properly and decelerate. We teach our athletes the proper mechanics of deceleration. We show them how to appropriately slow down, lowering their center of gravity before stopping completely. Deceleration will do two things: increase their overall strength and reduce their chance of injury. We want to prevent them from “slamming on the brakes” in order to stop.

What are the key mechanics Parisi teaches?

[In addition to proper deceleration], we also teach kids to jump properly and not only jump, but how to land properly. With the landing mechanics, we teach them how to use their arms correctly, how to keep their eyes up, their chest up, how to slow their motion as they land and stand on the front half of their feet so they’re not always hitting flatfooted.

In our strength classes, we focus on the major muscle movements of the squat, deadlift, bench and strict press form, as well as accessory lifts. Accessory lifts target the back, triceps, biceps, hips, calves and abdominals will complement those muscle movements to dissipate instability and weakness in the athlete. Strength is such an important class that gives our athletes the ability to produce more power in the speed and agility classes as well as control their body more.

What athletes train at Parisi?

We work with a very wide range of athletes. Normally, Parisi starts at age 7, but we actually have a couple of very talented 6-year-olds who tested very well in their evaluations so we do have a couple in the program, and we go all the way up to the professional level. For myself, I was lucky enough to train Devon Still of the Houston Texans last year to get him ready for camp—so we work with athletes of all ages and levels! I’m going to teach the same mechanics to a 6-year-old as I would a professional athlete, it’s just a matter of intensity and volume that we change.

What is the atmosphere at Parisi like?

We’ve created a culture where the athletes are always our top priority. The coaches on staff do a great job connecting with the athletes, establishing great rapport with the parents, creating an environment where the kids want to come and ultimately thrive. As coaches, we operate as a team, instead of individuals. We hold each other accountable, and there is a raised level of expectation for success among the athletes and the program as a whole.

Before, we hoped to do well and now, we expect to do well.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 5 (July, 2017). 
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