NORMAN — Helping kids live longer, healthier lives is one of the goals of Chat Williams.
Through his program, Youth Performance, Williams is working with more than 120 youth ages 5 to 18 to help them not only become better athletes, but make changes for healthy living.
Williams said, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control this is the first generation that is not going to outlive their parents and that is pretty sad.
Williams said nine years ago he started training a friend’s son and interest from others quickly spurred the idea to establish an organized program for youth in the community.
Kids involved in all types of sports come to him now to become more athletic, better, stronger and faster, he said. But others come to him to just get fit and develop good motor skills.
Williams, 38, said the community program he established, Youth Performance, is unique and kids come from all over the area to be involved.
The program was started in conjunction with Norman Regional Health System and is run by The Health Club staff members. All trainers/coaches have a B.S. or M.S. in Exercise Science and are certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Williams said Norman Regional Hospital and The Health Club have been part of several programs focusing on Families and Youth improving overall health, fitness and performance including Fit Families and Kid Fit.
He said with Youth Performance, it was imperative to build on these programs and maintain the staff affiliation so the employees would have the same credentials.
Recently, Youth Performance was awarded the Fit-Friendly Company Community Innovation Award by the American Heart Association. Williams said when they received the award it was the first of its kind presented in the state.
Williams said improving a child’s physical abilities has many other benefits as well.
“It is amazing when a kid can do more push-ups, squats or drills, how that builds their self confidence,” he said.
Confidence is a value they hold highly in the program, in fact right over the door. Williams said kids of all ages can benefit from the program and he enjoys seeing the difference it has made in kids who have been dedicated.
Many schools don’t still include the typical physical education classes and kids today aren’t as active because of technology and screen time, he said.
“We have to keep kids active. Besides playing sports we want them to work on being fit as well.”
Youth Performance moved into a 4,000 square-foot gym at 2431 W Main in December. The previous location, near 36th Avenue NW and Main Street, was quickly becoming too small to safely allow the number of participants to work out.
Williams said a larger gym devoted to youth fitness allows the kids to do circuit training and speed and agility ladders without interfering with anyone.
Even well-behaved kids are going to be kids, he said, and when the kids were working out in the same area as adults, the adults were actually getting in their way.
Williams is working with a local pediatrician and seeking various grants to begin offering some type of scholarships for the program.
For more information visit youthperformance.net.