Patrick Avon is the founder of Sarge Athletics based in Ijamsville, MD (with satellite classes in Poolsville and Damascus). As you will see from our interview with him, Partrick doesn't hold back on his views of the importance of training and conditioning for kids, regardless of whether they are involved in recreational or competitive athletics. We love Partrick's passion and no frills approach towards fitness. Read on, you will too!
My training background began in the Navy when I was the Captain of our ship’s weight room. They had to start me someplace! Once I got out of the Navy I started a company called The Sergeant’s Program and that’s where I got the nickname Sarge. I developed that busin ess with a simple approach. Basic, tough results orientated - no frills exercises at a time of da y when excuses competed with alarm clocks. Years later my children entered sports and my background lent to me training the coaches in conditioning and injury prevention. Then my interest grew and realized that "hey, I can relate better to these kids then I can their parents." So the coaches let me do my thing. I have continued my education to stay with or ahea d o f the needs for athletes and now I am developing a staff to help me spread our services through out the DC area.
FB: What additional training have you received?
After 5 years in the Navy, I pursued the highest and most applicable education for our industry. My credentials are The National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Performance Enhancement Specialist. The American College of Sports Medicine. I am a certified Funct ional Movement Specialist (test athletics movement and prescribe corrective exercises) and U nder Armour Performance Coach.
Sarge Athletics is a training service for athletes in need of a higher level of performance. Speed. Power. Better movement. Character development. We instill the concept of self-care. We teach these young athletes to make better food choices and the best methods to self-manage their aches and pains.
FB: Why is speed, strength, and agility training so important for young athletes?
Today's youth sports environment is not good. Most athletes bounce from sport to sport or worse, specialize in one sport at too young an age. Spare time is not spent playing or just riding a bike. It’s catching the Ride-On Bus to go to a friend’s house to sit and play Call of Day or stay up on Facebook all night. They SIT!!! Then comes game or practice. The hip muscles are weak and under perform. Kids try to over compensate then comes Mr. Injury.
At Sarge Athletics, we try to reduce this problem by identifying weak muscle groups and correct the problem with appropriate exercises to address the imbalances. Then we teach kids the fundamental speed, power agility movement drills to better their sports experience.
FB: What’s a good age to start training?
Play has become organized into hour-long appointments. It’s structured and free movement does not exist. I was recently asked why kids have no core muscles. I replied, "when was the last time you saw a kid climb a tree?" When I was in youth sports, we all did skids. So we all could lift our own bodyweight. We had 6-pack abs and thought everyone did. Kids should start training at age one. Now I am not referring to a program like mine. But some movement based program. They should progress to a more outdoor and fun version of speed agility at age 5.
Training center based training can begin at age 11. There is a ton of research that supports this. As for weights, kids should start with push-ups and pull-ups then weights. If a doctor disagrees with me. Take a look at their health. Is the doctor slumped over. Does he look like he needs a check up? Is he fat? DON’T GET ME STARTED!!!!!
FB: What’s the biggest myth that a lot of kids have about fitness (e.g, speed, strength, and agility?).
The biggest myth about kid’s performance is you can develop speed. HOGWASH. If a kid has no core strength he can’t get low. Therefore he can’t fully get to full speed fast (we call this the drive phase). They can’t run straight because his core is a sack of jelly. Give any good conditioning coach two weeks and they will change this.
FB: You are an Under Armour Combine Training Center. Can you explain the Combine concept?
Under Armour….WOW What a blessing. The short story is Under Armour is ahead of a movement where fitness has evolved and needed some objective scoring to it. Suzy lost 10 lbs and is in a smaller pair of jeans. That’s objective and terrific. What if Suzy was an athlete and is still competitive in everything BUT sports. What if Suzy could do in 1 hour a 2-mile run, lift 10 lbs dumbbells etc. You get the picture. Now let’s fast-forward 2 months. Suzy lost 10lbs of fat, did the 2 miles run 4 minutes faster, lifted 15lb dumbbells etc. We can now simply objectively score her improvements. Now lets let her compete with other Suzy’s cross the world with COMBINE360.COM website. We are Under Armour's first licensed training center other than the original in Baltimore to facilitate this.
We are also all under Armour Certified Conditioning Coaches (termed Combine Trainers). We in the industry are so thank full to Under Armour for their Combine360 Program. It’s first class.
FB: What’s the proportion of girl vs. boy participants?
Our girl vs. boy ratio is 50/50.
FB: Do you take a different approach for girls than you do for boys?
Our approach with girls vs. boys training approach is based on need and sport. Clearly no female baseball player desires to put on 30 lbs of muscle, but a male football player might. It’s dictated mostly by sport and the athlete’s request (and our observation).
FB: What are the range of sports that kids play that participate in your program. Do you have many kids who are not playing a formal sport, but participate in Sarge to keep in shape?
Most of our kids are athletes. One is a Break Dancer believe it or not. One of our better HS female athletes that just wanted to maintain a nice figure and stay healthy was an actress heading to college. We get lots of kids in sport and also in their off season.
FB: What do/should parents like about Sarge Athletics?
Our goal is to be another pair of eyes. As a parent myself, I want “A Village” as Hillary Clinton said. We want the chance to help them…really help them. It’s going to take a while, so please don’t give me 3 months and pull them. Give me 2-3 years and you will find we will be one of the best investments they ever made. And we will likely hire your kids as our assistant coach.
FB: What’s your approach towards injury prevention?
Every athlete is given the most advance movement screen before starting (functionalmovement.com) and each session they have to take 15 additional minutes to perform special exercises to reduce injury and improve movement. All of our coaches are trained in corrective exercise. We also have a class on Sundays called Athlete Repair. We take an hour and 15 minutes and have a Doctor in Physical Therapy lead self care corrective exercises. He is also our Program Director (former Pro-Lacrosse player and is a conditioning coach)
FB: What are the coaching styles of your staff?
Loving-Intense-interactive and Educated
FB: What else should kids and parents know about your program?
I told you everything…….:) If you don’t hire us…Hire someone like us or better. If they cannot match everything I said..DO NOT HIRE THEM.
Partrick Avon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org