Youth strength and conditioning

SPIDERfit Kids YPLS Course Review – Andy Bruce (Guest Post)

This guest post was written by Andy Bruce of ACBcoaching, a previous contributor on the blog. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the SPIDERfit kids YPLS course (which was hosted by former “Ask the Expert” guest Shane Fitzgibbon), so I asked him for his thoughts on it.

Working in a school setting with pupils who are 11 years old and upwards, I am always very aware of the stark differences in physical competence with which each student arrives, and then eventually leaves the school. Developing aspects of physical competence can often feel challenging, and after much research and conversations with peers, trial and error etc, it’s become ever clearer of the need and value to work with athletes at an earlier age to develop sound physical literacy. 

I’d been aware of Brett Klika and Spider fit for a while now, and when I heard Shane Fitzgibbon was arranging for him to come to Ireland to present, I got myself signed up for the SPIDERfit Kids YPLS Certification.  Whenever I go away to a conference or course, I’m looking for 2 things. 

  1. Tools/techniques/knowledge/skills I can practically apply straight away in my work and 
  2. A deeper understanding of an underlying system or framework that can be integrated to what I already know.

When I look at these two criteria, this weekend didn’t disappoint. 

It was a pretty full on two days, but never felt like a drag. Brett got the balance just right between the theory based learning and practical skills. The first day we went through some of the key differences of adult and child physiology and physical development. This was nothing groundbreaking, but I learned a few new things. Most valuable was the time we then spent working on the practical application of these differences. The ability to provide a rationale for WHY things must be done differently with younger kids, and what that looks like is golden information for the ability to deal with some parents and resistant stakeholders you are looking to work alongside. 

After this we moved onto an in depth examination of Perceptual Motor Skills, how they develop, when they develop and their involvement in athleticism at all levels. Each skill was accompanied with a practical element to test,  explore solidify and knowledge and coaching skills. Time absolutely flew by. We rounded off a busy day with a discussion (and more practical work) on how best to tailor our coaching to the standard of child you are working with. This was all presented in a really clear, concise fashion with accompanying resources to go with!

After the first day, we all met up for dinner together at a nearby hotel, and it was great to relax and chat with the other coaches. Shane had organised and booked a space for us, it was a great meal. 

The second day carried on much as the first. A relaxed, informal atmosphere, which made the sheer volume of content we got through feel effortless. The day focused on how to put together a session, and the rationale behind the structure. This expanded into how programme a series of sessions, the considerations that come with them. These included some fantastic tips on how to interact and add value to the parents of the children with which you’ll be working. 

From a personal perspective, this really was up there with some of the best CPD I’ve been on in a while. The balance of learning and practical was perfect, the resources provided are excellent – it really has been well thought through from start to end. It was made all the better by a great group. Over some beers on Sunday evening with Shane and Brett out in Galway, we discussed how there is always a concern when organising a course that you make sure the ‘d*ckhead ratio’ is right to ensure a good experience. I said I didn’t think there were really any di*kheads on the course at all this weekend to which Shane agreed, and then replied, ’They say that if you can’t spot the d*ckhead in the room, it might be you!’ 

If you can, get yourself in front of Brett Klika and his content! While not everything that works with adults works with kids, what works with kids almost always works with adults! Serious thanks to Brett, and of course Shane for arranging what was a great experience from start to end!

Thankyou to Andy Bruce, for his review of this valuable CPD course! Andy has his own website: which is worth a visit!

Are you a grassroots youth sport coach or PE teacher who wants to improve the athleticism of your athletes?? Check out our Fundamental series athletic development programs here.