Skylar Phillips is the program coordinator and performance coach at the Joplin Family YMCA. He is from Mt. Vernon, Missouri, where he graduated high school in 2013. From 2013-2018, he attended Missouri Southern State University, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in health promotion and wellness, as well as a minor in business management. Skylar’s passion is health, fitness and sports. 

FIT FOR LIFE: Building Better Athletes

By Skylar Phillips

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Seventy-five percent of American families with school-aged children have at least one child participating in organized sports.” Children who play sports are more likely to graduate high school than those who don’t. Sports give kids an opportunity to learn important professional and life skills such as teamwork, integrity, leadership, communication and adaptability. And for most children, these organized sports are their main source of physical fitness. That’s paramount for a nation where one in three children is overweight. 

At the Joplin Family YMCA, we offer a number of organized youth sports for your child, and our sports are offered at a discounted price to our Joplin Family YMCA members. The sports we offer include soccer, basketball, flag football, volleyball, tee ball and coach’s pitch baseball. We offer enough youth sports to keep your child active and happy year round. We encourage parents to let their children play all of these sports, if they want to. This gives the child an opportunity to make social interactions and friends, as well as find out what sports they love to play and would like to continue to play. 

So what makes youth sports at the Joplin Family YMCA different from other organizations that offer youth sports? At the Joplin Family YMCA, we don’t focus so much on scores or wins and losses. Our main focus is player development. Our youth sports program has coaches’ meetings for our volunteer coaches before every sport’s season, and we emphasize to our coaches we want our kids to learn how to play the game, learn the fundamentals of the game and have fun playing the game. We want the children to learn the rules of the game and learn drills and exercises they can practice to become a better player at any sport they choose. We go as far as letting our volunteer coaches and referees stop the game for a brief moment if we see an important teaching opportunity that will enhance a player’s development. Children need to learn how to play each sport correctly and have fun doing it. That’s exactly how we approach our youth sports here at the Joplin Family YMCA. 

At the Joplin Family YMCA, we want to dig deeper into sports performance and player development. That’s why we are starting our Next Level Sports program. At Next Level Sports, we build better athletes. Our Next Level Sports program focuses on three aspects of human performance: speed, strength and power, and fitness. 

Every athlete needs speed. We use a proven formula, based on biomechanics and motor control, to develop speed you can use in any sport. Supported by video technology, our performance team provides effective coaching based on the latest motor-learning techniques to increase your functional speed. 

Power and sports go hand in hand. Power is the explosiveness when swinging, throwing, jumping, sprinting and making contact with opponents. Power protects your joints and aids in preventing injury. At NLS, we help you develop power specific to your sport by teaching you the proper technique to lift weight effectively. 

There are many operational definitions of “fitness.” We deliver the science of fitness and performance through five foundations. Those foundations are nutrition and lifestyle, movement, mobility, strength and stamina. 

The Joplin Family YMCA is a great place that welcomes all individuals. So come down for a free tour of our facility and find out more information about our youth sports and other programs. We hope we will see you soon, and you and your family will become part of our Y family.