Richard Richie Kerster Headshot

Richard “Richie” Kerster is the co-owner and head physical trainer at Athletes Performance Training in Coconut Creek. He holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, has worked with hundreds of youth and professional athletes, and coaches youth sports programs throughout South Florida.

With softball, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, basketball, track and field, and baseball in full swing, I’ve been busy working with a host of young local athletes, helping them get game-ready and stay fit and healthy throughout the season.

Youth sports are the foundation for many children through elementary, middle and high school. I love being part of their athletic journey and know that sports are important for kids for many reasons, including:

  • Showing them the rewards of hard work, effort and commitment
  • Helping them set and pursue goals
  • Increasing their social skills and confidence
  • Establishing a commitment to lifelong fitness

While parents are their kids’ biggest supporters, they usually have two things on their minds: maximizing their child’s performance in their chosen sport and protecting them from injury. It is critical to make sure kids are taught the correct form for sports and movement.

A misconception is that if young athletes they keep playing and practicing, they will naturally get better. This isn’t the case; most young athletes need more than that.

They need the knowledge, tools and skills to build a solid base for their bodies to be strong enough to use correct form to maximize their effort. Repetition and practice helps them learn, but if they do not have the right tools and insight, they won’t get the best outcomes.

With youth sports becoming more and more competitive, it is vital for young athletes to learn and develop quickly. Not every child needs to train to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Michael Jordan, but they need to focus and train at a level that keeps them performing at their best.

Here, my top fitness tips for young athletes:

  • During body weight and strength exercises, focus on not placing all your pressure on your knees. A tip to avoid doing this is, for certain exercises, to try to have your weight pressed on the front half of your heel. Additionally, focus on distributing your weight between all muscle groups—drop your hips, avoid rolling through your back, and keep your chest up.
  • Maintain good posture. Engaging your abdominals and core muscles will provide a solid base for your body, as well as prevent back injuries.
  • Make sure you are in the correct position to transition from one movement or direction to the next fluidly and with optimal speed.