Child To Champion USA – New Speakers Confirmed!


Child To Champion USA – New Speakers Confirmed!

Johnny Parkes – US Tennis Association
A truly integrated approach to Athlete Development: A case study from USTA Player Development, Team USA Best Practices

The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of what a potential journey looks like for an athlete following the USTA Player Development Teaching and Coaching Philosophy.
Tennis is the sport I work in; however, this journey considers outcomes in various studies that have been conducted over the past 40+ years across many disciplines. It pinpoints key information in how we set up our environments and how children learn to become champions with modern best practices.

We will reflect what a truly integrated, wholistic approach to athlete development means and looks like, discussing barriers and constraints and how to overcome them to get to a truly integrated program that is person-first, athlete-centered. Lastly but certainly not least, it is important to discuss how we shape a child’s mind through developmentally appropriate teaching and training that lead to healthy outcomes in a performance world.

1. What does the Journey look like?

b. WHAT KIDS NEED – Coach / Parent
c. WHERE KIDS GET IN – Environment
d. HOW KIDS LEARN – Positive Pedagogy, Teaching and Coaching.

2. Diving more into the Development. Planning an athlete’s program.

a. Screening and Testing
b. Identify individual exercises that address physical deficiencies
c. Decide on integration of exercises that develop the athlete in the whole program
d. Deliver a brain-based approach through positive pedagogy, challenging decision-making, problem-solving and sparking creativity.

Practical Component:

A demonstration of incorporating Athletic Development and foundational strength principles during the warm-up following the philosophy of:
1. Eyes and Mind
2. Feet
3. Hands

Micheál Cahill – Athlete Training and Health – A targeted approach to speed development in young athletes.


Micheál serves as the Vice President of Performance and Sports Science at Athlete Training and Health (ATH), located in Texas, USA. Micheál has previously worked as the Director of Sports Science at Jesuit College in Dallas, catering for the needs of 750 athletes from 21 sports from 2013 – 2018. Micheál completed his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Ireland before obtaining his PhD at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand focusing on acceleration and resisted sprinting in young athletes, where he is currently a Research Associate supervising postgraduate research across an array of area’s in performance, fitness and health.

Talk Overview  A targeted approach to speed development in young athletes

Resisted sled training (RST) is a commonly used method of sprint specific training, however there is a lack of uniformity on training guidelines and best practice. RST can be used as a mode of horizontal strength training to compliment a well-rounded training program to improve speed. This presentation is aimed at providing valuable practical insight from evidence-based research on young athletes to better equip coaches to assess, prescribe and coach RST to enhance speed. Of particular interest to practitioners dealing with young athletes will be the interaction of maturation and training competence on the phase of targeted sprint adaptation.

Michael Jennings – Athlos – Director of Healthy Body


Michael Jennings has nearly 10 years of experience teaching and coaching at every level. He has a master’s degree in both Secondary Education & Exercise Physiology. Michael is a proponent of physical literacy, long term athletic development & the holistic development/education of all students. Currently he works with the educational service provider, Athlos, as the Director of Healthy Body. Here, he is dedicated to redefining physical education & youth sport through developing innovative curriculum & providing professional development/support for physical educators & coaches in all thing’s movement, fitness, physical activity, social & emotional learning, and youth development.

Talk Overview: Integrating LTAD into a Traditional Physical Education Setting

In this session participants will learn about the importance of a VERTICALLY ALIGNED, DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE curriculum framework for K-12 physical education.  We will discuss the crucial role physical education plays in the growth and development of all athletes.  Participants will learn about current concerns and shortcomings plaguing traditional PE and how long term athletic development can help to improve that landscape.  Participants will leave with an adequate knowledge and understanding the integration of long term athletic development into physical education, and how it can develop physically literate students while promoting a lifelong pursuit AND enjoyment of movement. We will discuss how every individual is an athlete and athleticism is a skill that can be learned and developed!

Dr. Laura McDonald & Krista Stoker – S2 Breakthrough

Speaker Bios:

Dr. Laura McDonald is a Biomechanist, Athletic Trainer, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with 15 years of research experience in the area of softball pitching biomechanics. As a former Division I pitcher at Canisius College, Laura’s own struggles with shoulder injury fueled her passion for pursuing biomechanics and injury risk reduction in softball pitchers. Prior to joining S2Breakthrough, Laura worked in higher education as a professor in undergraduate Athletic Training and Exercise Science programs. At S2 Breakthrough, she oversees the implementation of advanced technology for athlete assessment, provides injury and return to play consultation, and leads research efforts for the facility.

Krista Stoker attended Washington University in St. Louis, where she served as team captain and outfielder on the softball team which included a second-place finish in the 2007 Division III World Series. Krista received her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and worked as a corporate associate at Sidley Austin LLP for three years specializing in Insurance and Financial Transactions. Krista’s coaching experience spans the youth, high school, and college levels and she currently serves as the General Manager for the Orland Park A’s and Head Coach of the 16U Premier team. She also is responsible for hitting instruction and development at S2 Breakthrough.

Talk Overview: Giving the Game Back – Building a Better Model of Youth Development in Softball

  • The reality for a youth softball player today
  • Growing the game through player development:
    • Prioritizing development of athleticism and fundamental movement
    • Understanding of the complexity of softball skills
    • Establishing developmentally appropriate expectations for players, parents, and coaches
    • Focusing on career longevity over short-sided success
  • Successes and struggles in aligning holistic player development within a travel softball organization